The Peril of Identical Bananas: Why Cloning Puts Our Favorite Fruit at Risk

Feb 28, 2024 | Science and Technology

Tell me about how most bananas we eat today are clones of the same banana and why that is dangerous

What’s a clone?

A clone is like a copy of something. You know how you have some toys that are exactly the same? That’s like a clone. Well, bananas can also be clones!

Why are bananas clones?

Back in the old days, bananas had lots of different kinds. But the bananas we eat today are called Cavendish bananas, and most of them are clones! Farmers found a Cavendish banana that tasted really good, so they started growing more of the same kind to make sure they got the tasty bananas every time.

Why is it dangerous?

Now you might be thinking, “What’s so dangerous about having lots of the same bananas?” Well, let me tell you why!

The trouble with clones

When all the bananas are the same, it can make them weak. Imagine if all the kids in your class were exactly the same. If they got sick, all of them would get sick too, because they’re the same. It’s kind of like that for bananas. If a disease or a bug comes along that can hurt the bananas, all of them can get hurt because they all have the same weaknesses.

Remember the old bananas?

You know how I told you about the different kinds of bananas a long time ago? One of those kinds was called Gros Michel. People loved those bananas, but they started getting sick. Do you know why? It’s because a bad disease called Panama Disease was able to hurt all the Gros Michel bananas because they were all the same. The same thing could happen to the Cavendish bananas we eat today!

Protecting the bananas

Farmers and scientists are working really hard to protect the Cavendish bananas from diseases and bugs. They’re trying to make new kinds of bananas that can resist the bad things that can hurt them. They want to make sure we can keep enjoying yummy bananas for a long time.

There are other bananas too

Even though most of the bananas we eat are clones, there are still other kinds of bananas out there. Some bananas are red, some are small, and some even taste like ice cream! If we want to keep enjoying different kinds of bananas, we need to make sure we take care of them and not rely on just one kind.

  • Clones are like copies of something.
  • Most bananas we eat today are clones called Cavendish bananas.
  • Having lots of the same bananas can make them weak.
  • All the bananas can get hurt if a disease or bug comes along.
  • A disease called Panama Disease hurt the old bananas called Gros Michel.
  • Farmers and scientists are working to protect the Cavendish bananas.
  • There are other kinds of bananas besides Cavendish.

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