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Under the peel

Under the peel is the blog of the ProMusa community. The views expressed are those of the authors. Non-registered users can post comments, but only registered ones can post blog items. When logged in, click on the pencil+ icon to start a post. We welcome contributions in French or Spanish. If you need help, contact the InfoMus@ editor at infomusa@promusa.org.

Tribute to Phil Rowe

Anne Vézina Monday, 29 July 2013

Mark Rowe, the son of Phil Rowe, recounts how his father convinced his mother to move to Honduras two months after the 1969 Football War between Honduras and El Salvador. He told her that they would only be there for two years. Little did he know at the time that the job of banana breeder he was about to accept with United Fruit (later known as Chiquita) would define the rest of his life, let alone that people would still be talking about him years after his death.

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TR4: will history repeat itself?

Boudy van Schagen Friday, 07 June 2013

If you believe that history will repeat itself unless we learn from it, then you may be interested in a historical review of the introduction and spread of banana pests and pathogens on the African continent. It provides some revealing insights into how most of today’s most damaging pests and pathogens were unwittingly introduced into Africa with imported planting material. Against a backdrop of increasing travel movements, it urges renewed vigilance to prevent more pathogens from creeping in.

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Slippery uses of banana statistics

Anne Vézina Tuesday, 26 March 2013

If a prize was awarded to the most popular opening line of scientific articles on bananas, it would have to go to “banana and plantain (Musa spp.) are the world’s fourth most important food crop after rice, wheat and maize”. I don’t mean it as a compliment though. In fact, I get slightly annoyed every time I see it. Firstly, it’s not clear how the claim can be verified given that it doesn’t say what was measured. Is it the number of tonnes produced? Production value in constant dollars? Consumption? Since the statement is usually not referenced, your guess is as good as mine.

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In Memoriam - Jacky Ganry

Inge Van den Bergh Friday, 08 February 2013

On February 4th, the ProMusa community lost one of its long-standing members, Jacky Ganry.

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Welcome to the ProMusa Crop Improvement Working Group

Robert Miller Tuesday, 02 October 2012

Welcome to the ProMusa Crop Improvement Working Group. We look forward to working with you and of advancing the interests of the group as we all take it forward in the coming years.

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New chairs for the ProMusa working groups

Inge Van den Bergh Wednesday, 05 September 2012

The members of the three ProMusa working groups – Crop Improvement, Crop Protection and Crop Production – have elected a new chair and co-chair for the coming years. Robert Miller has been “promoted” from co-chair to chair of the Crop Improvement working group, with Edson Perito Amorim taking his place as co-chair. The Crop Protection working group welcomes Randy Ploetz and Danny Coyne, as chair and co-chair respectively. Jeff Daniells and Thierry Lescot will chair and co-chair the Crop Production working group over the coming years.

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The road to sequencing the banana genome

Anne Vézina Monday, 06 August 2012

The recent news that the banana genome had been sequenced and published in Nature is said to have had “scientists breaking out the banana daiquiris.” My guess is that they more likely reached for their computer to download the sequence, but the point is the same. If ever a crop needed help from genomics research, it is the difficult-to-breed-and-to-study-using-classical-genetics banana. It also explains the early interest in sequencing its genome.

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The 'best genomics Venn diagram ever' deconstructed

Anne Vézina Sunday, 15 July 2012

It didn’t take long after the journal Nature put online the article on the banana genome sequence for bloggers to start commenting on the Venn diagram featuring a a bright yellow banana. David Ng at Popperfont qualified it as, “quite possibly the most complicated (and therefore awesome) Venn Diagram ever”. Jonathan Eisen, the scientist who coined the term phylogenomics, said that it was “perhaps the best genomics Venn diagram ever”, while Joe, of the It’s okay to be smart blog wrote that it is “a pretty genius way of delivering a bunch of banana data all at once”. He added that it was the first time he ever saw a six-way Venn diagram. Joe is right to be impressed, but the truth is that this is not the first ever six-way Venn diagram.

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