Re: Panama and fusarium wilt resistance gene found!
Just treat popular media on resistance to Panama disease (Fusarium wilt of banana) with healthy reservation. A few points/facts:
a) there are a number of different strains of this pathogen, each generally capable of attacking a limited range of banana varieties
b) the strain currently creating headlines, wreaking havoc in Asia (incl. China) and Darwin (Australia) and feared in Latin America, is "Tropical" race 4
c) this strain is more severe than all others (known) and is capable of infecting most of the varieties cultivated worldwide, threatening up to 80% of the worlds banana production
d) resistance is a complex issue and may be controlled by more than 1 gene
e) the plants being trialled in Australia have been altered with one implanted gene and are not currently being tested against the "Tropical" race 4 strain.
In saying this, the only long-term solution to this pathogen ("Tropical" race 4) for sustainable banana production in any location that it occurs may be transgenic plants (GM).