Published on 27 Mar 2013
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  The area encompassing Sulawesi, the Maluku Islands and the Lesser Sunda Islands forms a triangle strategically located at the intersection of the geographic distribution of Musa acuminata subspecies whose genetic signature has been found in many cultivated bananas. Its unresolved role in the domestication of bananas and the fact that it has been little explored made it a top priority destination for exploration and collecting for the MusaNet network coordinated by Bioversity International. The plan to pay a visit to the triangle became reality when Bioversity funded two missions as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas.  The core collecting team was made up of scientists from the Indonesian Tropical Fruit Research Institute (ITFRI) - banana taxonomist and breeder Edison Hs and plant pathologist Riska Jumjunidang – and Jeff Daniells, banana taxonomist and principal horticulturist at the Queensland’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Australia. ITFRI banana taxonomist Fitriana Nasution accompanied the group during the first mission in October 2012, while Agus Sutanto, the curator of the ITFRI collection in Solok on the island of Sumatra, joined the second one in February-March 2013. Staff from the local offices of the Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology (AIAT) also joined the group as it travelled through the region.


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