DH Pahang is short for 'doubled haploid Pahang'. The doubled haploid part refers to the doubling of the haploid genome of pollen to obtain an homozygous diploid, i.e. a plant in which both copies of each chromosome are identical. Pahang is the name given to a Musa acuminata ssp. malaccensis specimen collected in Malaysia's Pahang province when it was introduced to the Banana Board Jamaica genebank in the late 1940s. The name stuck as the accession was shared between genebanks.
Doubled haploid bananas were developed to be used in breeding. CIRAD scientists used anther culture to produce haploid plants whose chromosomes doubled spontaneously, a procedure that was also used successfully with Musa balbisiana. When scientists had to decide which banana genome to sequence first, they opted for DH Pahang. One of the reasons is that a homozygous genome is easier to sequence and assemble that a heterozygous one. Moreover, this particular subspecies of Musa acuminata had been shown to be at the origin of many banana cultivars, including the ones that are most important for food and economic security.
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