Banana: cultivars, biotechnological approaches and genetic transformation
Genetic modification of banana has been considered as a path towards increasing the value of this crop according to health and nutrition in developing countries. Banana as a crop is one of the most important and widely consumed fruits as a weaning food by children and as a starchy staple for all other consumers. As well as providing a low cost and easily produced source of energy, bananas are also rich in certain minerals and in vitamins A, C and B6. Growing urbanisation in many developing countries upgraded the crop importance as a source of revenue, occasionally providing the main source of income for rural communities. Genetically modified organism bananas have been advocated as carrier for vaccines and as a source of carotenoids that can counteract debilitating vitamin A deficiency. The rather high vulnerability of banana to pests and diseases triggered biotechnological applications in an attempt to produce new, more resistant banana cultivars. However, the potential biosafety of genetically modified banana and its applications should be taken into account prior to its extensive usage. The current survey summarises the most important biotechnological techniques (in vitro culture, DNA fingerprinting, somatic emrbyogenesis, DNA flow cytometry, etc.) and applications (micropropagation, in vitro selection, somaclonal variation, protoplast fusion, haploid production, etc.) in banana and emphasises on genetic transformation in conjunction with the expressed gene and modified trait aiming at a further improvement of this crop.