Group members working on Banana:

  • Dr Trude Schwarzacher (Faculty Member)
  • Teo Chee How (Post-Graduate Researcher, EU project)
  • Mohamad Azhar (PhD student)
  • Dhairyasheel Desai (Postgraduate Student)

Our research on Musa involves:

  • Large-scale organization of the banana genome 
    We are using the BAC libraries from the Global Musa Genomics Consortium to examine genome organization over the range of 100 kb of DNA. We are using in situ hybridization to look at larger-scale genome organization. 
  • Biodiversity measurement, understanding of genome relationships, and development of new molecular tools, particularly using inter-retrotransposon polymorphisms (Teo et al., submitted)
  • Understanding the behaviour and expression of genome-integrated copies of the pararetrovirus Banana Streak Virus (BSV)
  • Comparison of the structure of the banana genome and its genes with those in other species, with the aim to build conserved ortholog set gene markers and identify genes of value in plant breeding
  • Application of biodiversity and molecular tools in banana improvement through selection and breeding methods, dissemination of methods and training.
  • Together, these projects are letting us build up a picture of the major components of the banana genome - repetitive DNA sequences including retroelements and tandem repeats - that tells us about the variation, evolution and how banana differs from other species. The information is exploitable in areas ranging from germplasm conservation to the use of genetic resources in plant breeding, and from application of genetic markers to identification of candidate genes for resistances to biotic and abiotic challenges faced by banana.