Bananas and plantains belong to the genus Musa, of the family Musaceae. The genus has five sections namely Eumusa (x=11), Rhodochlamys (x = 11), Australimusa (x- 10), Calimusa (x = 10) and incerte sedis ( x= 7, 0).
The vast majority of cultivated bananas and plantains belong to section “Euromusa” and have originated in tropical region of South East Asia from two wild species - Musa acuminate Colla and Musa balbisiana Colla.
Depending upon their ploidy level. They posses 22, 23 or 44 chromosomes (x = 11). The most widely cultivated clones of commerce are the triploids (2n = 3x = 33) which have more vigorous growth characteristics and higher yield than diploids (2n = 2x=22).
Tetraploid (2n = 4x = 44) clones are rather rare but diploids are often cultivated in tropical areas for local consumption and some are valued for their good flavored fruit.
The development of edible bananas initially resulted from the human selection of diploid M. acuminate varieties that were parthenocarpic.
Later, selection was for female infertility which resulted in fruits with few or no seeds.
Diploid (AA) cultivars gave rise through nuclear restitution during meiosis, to triploid (AAA) cultivars.
Today’s the major export banana cultivars belong to the AAA group.
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