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Ongoing project

A platform for gene editing vegetative propagated crops (AS20000)

Key research provider: Queensland University of Technology

What’s it all about?

This investment is using gene editing technology to develop two new banana cultivars that will contribute to improved production and biosecurity outcomes for industry. In Australia, there is concern that the banana industry is too dependent on the Cavendish banana which is susceptible to Panama Disease tropical race 4 (TR4). There is a need to create greater cultivar diversity, as well as disease-resistant varieties.

Gene editing provides the ability to alter single traits within highly desirable cultivars and will be used to (a) improve varietal diversity and (b) improve disease-resistance. Importantly, these gene editing technologies are deemed to be essentially equivalent to natural processes and do not require any additional regulation other than for conventionally bred cultivars and will not require any specific labelling.

Specifically, the project aims to develop:

  • Cavendish banana lines that have high-level resistance to Panama disease tropical race 4
  • Goldfinger banana lines with enhanced levels of fruit quality.

This research will benefit growers across the industry, such as:

  • Growers already affected by TR4 or who are growing susceptible bananas adjacent or close to previous outbreaks
  • Growers considering the future threat of TR4 spread
  • Growers interested in expanding the diversity of bananas that they produce without the concern of disease threats.

These new varieties will also benefit consumers looking for great choice and diversity in the bananas that are available to them.