Molecular analysis reveals multiple domestications of edible bananas

  • Authors : Volkaert, H.

  • Document type : Conference paper

  • Year of publication : 2011

  • Conference : International ISHS-ProMusa Symposium on Global Perspectives on Asian Challenges, Guangzhou, China, 14-18/09/2009

  • Book title : Acta Horticulturae 897

  • Editors : Van den Bergh, I.; Smith, M.; Swennen, R.; Hermanto, C.

  • Publisher(s) : ISHS

  • Place of publication : Leuven, Belgium

  • Pages : 143-152

  • Language(s) : English

  • Abstract : The original publication is available at

    Molecular sequence analysis of four genes in a set of 100 cultivated and wild (Musa acuminata and M. balbisiana) banana accessions has been done to determine the origin of edible bananas and plantains. A few Musa schizocarpa and Australimusa accessions were included as outgroups. The domestication of edible bananas involves three taxonomic groups: M. acuminatea ssp. banksii/errans, M. acuminata ssp. malaccensis/microcarpa/zebrina/burmanica/siamea group and M. balbisiana. Plantains (AAB) and several ABB bananas most likely originated through a hybridisation event between M. acuminata ssp. errans (or more generally the M. acuminata ssp. banksii group) and M. balbisiana. Most AAB bananas such as 'Mysore' and some BBA bananas such as 'Pisang Awak' are the result of hybridisation between M. acuminata ssp. "non-banksii" and M. balbisiana. Most edible sweet bananas (AA and AAA dessert) are derived from hybridisations between subspecies within the M. acuminata "non-banksii" group. Several unique SNPs have been identified in these bananas and East African highland bananas (AAA) that so far have not been found in any of the wild M. acuminata accessions in the International Transit Center (ITC) collection. A search for these SNPs in the wild Musa populations would shed light on the original location of the hybridising populations that gave rise to the edible bananas. The variable contribution of parents at different genetic loci indicates that most edible bananas are not direct hybrids, but have gone through a few or several generations of backcrossing. Some diversity has been found in M. balbisiana. The M. balbisiana involved in the origin of plantains, other AAB bananas and ABB 'Monthan' group is distinct from the M. balbisiana involved in the origin of BBA 'Pisang Awak' group. A thorough study of the genetic diversity within M. balbisiana throughout its area of distribution is deemed necessary. The implications for breeding of edible bananas are discussed.


  • Open access : No, but post-print available

  • Document on publisher's site : close View article on publisher's site

  • PostPrint : open

  • Musalit document ID : IN130213

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