Banana has revealed the secrets of its 520 million bases. CIRAD and CEA-Genoscope, with funding from the National Research Agency (ANR), have finished, in two years, sequencing the species Musa acuminata which is a component in every edible variety (dessert and cooking bananas). This work is a huge step towards understanding the genetics of and improving banana varieties, and was done within the framework of the Global Musa Genomics Consortium (GMGC). The results were published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature.

We sequenced the genome of a doubled-haploid of the accessioni named Pahang (2n=22).Pahang was collected in Malaysia’s Pahang province in the late 1940s.

It is a wild accession that belongs to subspecies Musa acuminata ssp. malaccensis, whose genetic signature is commonly found in dessert and cooking bananas. Doubled haploid refers to the induced doubling of the chromosomes in a haploid cell (which has one set of chromosomes). In this case, the haploid cell was pollen. The doubled-haploid (DH-Pahang) was produced through anther culture and spontaneous chromosomes doubling.

We assembled 91% of the 523Mb genome of Pahang (1C estimated through flow cytometry), predicted 36,542 protein-coding genes and anchored them to the 11 Musa chromosomes, providing a platform for genetic improvement of this so far under-researched vital crop. We present evidences for several rounds of whole genome duplications in the Musa lineage and clarify the timing of duplication events in the Monocot lineage. The Musa genome represents an important stepping-stone for plant gene and genome evolution studies.

01/2008 - 12/2010
Angélique D'hont
Gaëtan Droc
Genoscope, GMGC