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BIO: Banana IN and OUT - engineering resistance against Panama disease in banana (BIO-Banana IN and OUT)
Start date: Apr 1, 2016, End date: Mar 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Panama disease is a devastating disease of banana caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense. A new race called tropical race 4 (TR4) is estimated to threaten >80% of the world’s bananas and can cause up to 100% yield loss. The disease is detrimental to global banana production, but also for small-holder farmers especially in Africa, because Panama disease also affects plantain cultivars that provide food for approximately 400 million people. In the 1950s, Panama Disease almost wiped out commercial banana cultivation in Central America. Because the fungus is a vascular pathogen, there is no effective way of combating the disease with crop protection compounds. In addition, the fungus can persist in the soil for many years. Traditional breeding of banana is time consuming and has had only limited success in delivering acceptable cultivars and effective resistance. The key objectives of this proposal are to employ state-of-the-arts biotechnological solutions such as genome editing using CRISPR/Cas and high-throughput resistance gene engineering to introduce a resistance gene and deactivate a susceptibility gene in banana with the global aim of creating a banana cultivar that is resistant to Panama disease.
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