Nature Communications published the results of a field trial of Cavendish banana plants engineered to be resistant to TR4, the fungal strain that causes Fusarium wilt in Cavendish cultivars. The trial site was a commercial banana plantation in the Northern Territory of Australia where TR4 has become endemic.
Two of the evaluated lines were still free of the disease after three years. One had received a resistance gene isolated from a wild relative of the banana, whereas the other had received an anti-apoptosis gene derived from a nematode.
By contrast, 67%-100% of the control banana plants were either dead or infected by the fungus after three years, including GCTCV-218. According to the authors, the tissue-culture variant was as susceptible as the Cavendish cultivar Williams.