Bananas going extinct Free Essay Samples & Outline
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Sample Essay On Bananas going extinct
Edible bananas are set to disappear within the decade if there is no urgent action that is taken to develop new varieties that are resistant to blight. Most scientists have approximated that by the year 2025, species of bananas will disappear from the store shelves around the globe. In fact, it is critical to understand that there will be no fresh bananas (Schierwater 49). This will happen because, over the centuries, bananas can be said to be a huge victim of genetic tampering. In fact, most scientists are often unable to prevent the extermination of this species of banana as an edible commercial crop.
The main problem regarding bananas is that they have become sterile as well as seedless over the span of 10,000 years of selective breeding. For this reason, over time, they have become a plan of genetic sameness as well as the like fields of cones. According to the Darwin theory, there is a need for genetic diversity for a species to be able to cope with several environmental stresses such as crop pests and diseases.
However, this over the years has been bred out as farmers have been looking for the best breed of banana. Consequently, it is critical to understand that indeed the banana plantations in the world are all vulnerable to the different and diverse environmental pressures. In factor, according to Emile Frison, science is nearly helpless when it comes to the prevention of the eventual demise of the banana plant. This is because, currently, around 50% of the entire world’s banana harvests are often lost to disease and insects (Schierwater 37).
Consequently, insects and disease can be said to be indeed the biggest threat to the banana population in the world. This is because when there is the formation of one disease or the evolution of a certain germ in insects. The banana fields in the world will be wiped out before researchers can be able to find a preventive way. This is the reason as to why the banana plantations in the world are extremely vulnerable to devastating environmental pressures.
It is critical to recognize that when humankind first encountered the banana thousands of years ago, they were not thoroughly impressed by the almost inedible giant will bananas that had huge seeds. However, through historical mutations, both accidental rare, there was the production of seedless bananas through selective breeding by farmers. It is of the essence to realize that indeed ancient humans were able to focus more on the pollen-less and seedless crops that were more edible (Schierwater 25). With time, there was a big change and the edible banana flesh only have several vague traces of the viable seed that had once been carried in the wild stock that existed thousands of years ago.
In ancient ages, plant breeders were able to grow edible bananas by grafting the different and diverse sterile mutants onto wild systems. This system was unfortunately repeated for thousands of years to produce was eventually an emasculated, defenseless as well as sterile plantation of bananas. This is what has been currently feeding persons in the global arena.
The different generations of selective breeding had been able to successful stop the banana reproduction and further the changing, and tinkering genetics of banana has been able to successful wipe out all the different varieties of bananas. The only one type of banana that remains by the 1950’s was referred to as the Gros Michel species (Schierwater 59). In fact, all the existing domestic stock in the world is its clone, and they have an exact genetic copy of that one variety.
Therefore, it comes as no surprise that there only exists one variety of the banana crop. Unfortunately, this variety is seedless and needs human help when it comes to reproduction. Each and every banana tree is equally vulnerable by crop pests, plant disease as well as climate variables.
Once the banana was a wild growing fruit, however, over the years things have changed, and the plant has to be helped by humans to be grown. The Panama disease wiped clean the Gros Michel in the year 1955. It is of the essence to realize that banana plantations were wiped out by the disease and the by the year 1960; the Gros Michel was unfortunately no longer a viable crop. There was tireless agricultural research that eventually produced the successor referred to as the Cavendish. Therefore, for the past 50 years, it can be said that the only commercially grown stock that has been available on the store shelves is Cavendish.
It cannot be doubted that in the tropics, there exist several types of banana varieties. However, it is critical to understand that these can be described as less desirable banana varieties. This is because they are often mainly grown as a starch food staple as compared to the sweet treat.
They often taste bland, and their texture is fibrous. In fact, most of them have to be cooked before they are ingested. They are never taken raw and it they are taken in their raw form, they are bitter and hard.
The problem with the current variety is that like its genetic parent, its sterile, and this leaves it vulnerable when it comes to crop pests and diseases. There are new mutations in terms of diseases that have been attacking the banana crops. The most notable is the powerful plant pathogen that appeared on the scene in the year 1970.
The Sigatoka Fungus mutates easily and has been attacking the Cavendish stock around the world. In fact, 50-70 percent of the banana crops have died, and the banana tree life spans have been unfortunately reduced from their initial 30 years to around two years (Robbins 22). Scientists have often argued that indeed the genetic sameness that exists amongst the Cavendish bananas have been crucial in making them helpless when it comes to the fighting of diseases such as the Black Sigatoka Fungus. If one plant can get sick and it dies, consequently, most of the plants will also die as they have the same genetic sameness.
What makes banana a near extinct, is the fact that chemical spraying cannot be able to save the banana. In fact, over the years, commercial growers have over the years attempted to control fungus by the use of different specialized and complex fungicides.
However, this has been largely impossible; this is because most fungi are known to develop rapidly resistance against these chemical fungicides (Banana Zoo). Therefore, it can be argued that indeed simply spraying the fungicide does not do the trick anymore, and it does not kill the fungus. In fact, currently, banana plantations that existed in Costa Rica as well as the Amazon have over the years been largely destroyed by the Sigatoka Fungus and bananas are largely growing extinct in these areas.
The problem was selective and genetic engineering. This is because they changed the DNA of the plant in what can be said to be an irreversible way. The case of the banana can be said to be a big case in favor of the claim that much can go wrong when there is tampering with the genetic so the plan (Robbins 22). There is still a small glimmer of hope for the banana. There are some scientists that have argued that indeed they can only delay the loss of the banana by the creation of a genetically modified banana with the DNA of the wild bananas in order to create a banana that exists in the Supermarket. However, whether this will be possible remains a big question.
Therefore, it is critical to note that indeed the disappearance of the banana should be a wake-up calls to what can often be the result of unplanned and reckless genetic manipulation and inattention to sensitive crops.
Therefore, if extinction can happen to the world’s most popular fruit with humanity in the stands watching it happen, and then can wonder what can happen to the small and insignificant fruits that are less known by humanity (Robbins 17). The plants that have no use to the humans but have a huge impact on the environment, these are the plants whose fates are often not talked about, but have the ability to curtail the lives of human beings on earth.
Banana Zoo: Endangered Species. Seattle, WA: Unapix Entertainment, 1998.
Schierwater, B, B Streit, G P. Wagner, and R DeSalle. Molecular Ecology and Evolution: Approaches and Applications. Basel: Birkhäuser Basel, 1994. Internet resource.
Robbins, Paul. Encyclopedia of Environment and Society. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2007. Internet resource