Yes We Have No Bananas


Another beautiful thing we might lose without (increasingly embattled) genetically modified foods: the banana. The cover story of the Jan. 18 New Scientist (not apparently available free on the Web, alas) reports that because of the staggering lack of genetic diversity in the sexless banana, it is uniquely vulnerable to rising fungal diseases. Thus, we could face extinction-level plagues against the yellow treat in the next few decades. GM-type biotech to create new varieties of banana resistant to the common fungi is, the story concludes, "the only hope for the banana. Without it…we may even see the extinction of the banana as both a lifesaver for hungry and impoverished Africans and as the most popular product on the world's supermarket shelves."