An Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation system was developed for the generation of transgenic banana (Musa spp. var. Grand Nain). This system allowed for the recovery of putative transformants within four weeks after co-cultivation of tissue samples with Agrobacterium. Two or more cycles of meristem rooting and micropropagation allowed for the selection of plants from this putative transformant population which demonstrated chromosomal integration of foreign DNA by Southern analysis with no indication of chimeric tissues. Since plant breeding strategies aimed at banana crop improvement are extremely complex and long-term, virtually all commercial production is from clonal derivatives of naturally occurring variants. The genetic transformation technology reported herein will provide an additional tool for crop breeders who wish to introduce value-added traits into the banana and plantain cultivars that serve as vital food sources and a means of generating export income for producing nations.
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