Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/18/2007
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Bananas, cooking bananas and plantains (Musa sp.) are some of the most important food crops in the world. Two of the more limiting factors for commercial as well as for local production are diseases and insect pests. Crop improvement through plant breeding to address these constraints, in addition to yield and quality, has had some success and holds the potential to improve production in the future. Plant germplasm collections serve as a repository for potentially important genes that may be introgressed into breeding programs. Plant germplasm collections are potential sources of genetic diversity however; lack of characterization data prevents plant breeders from utilizing germplasm collections to their fullest. Germplasm characterization efforts in Musa have focused mostly on agronomic and morphological traits with little effort being focused on molecular marker characterization. Genomic composition in Musa is dictated by ploidy level as well as if a particular plant accession is of a hybrid origin. Moreover, genomic composition can directly affect both disease and insect resistance in addition to production and flavor characteristics. The USDA-ARS TARS Musa collection consists of 112 accessions many of which are of unknown genomic composition. So, in an effort to better characterize the Musa collection two molecular fingerprinting techniques (RAPDs and PCR-RFLPs) as well as flow cytometry were employed to determine genomic composition. Initial efforts have shown that plant accessions maintained in the collection belong to a wide array of genotypes including, accessions which are diploid, triploid and tetraploid and belong to the Musa acuminata species as well as diploid, triploid, and tetraploids accessions of Musa x paradisiaca hybrids.