Banana is a major staple crop in East Africa produced mostly by smallholder subsistence farmers. More bananas are produced and consumed in East Africa than in any region of the world.Uganda is the world's second foremost grower with a total annual production of about 10.5 million tons. The average daily per capita consumption in Uganda ranges from 0.61 to over 1.6 kg, one of the highest in the world. In this Correspondence, we report preliminary results from a confined field trial in Uganda of transgenic bananas resistant to the deadly banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW) disease.

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The vast majority of the bananas currently grown and consumed were not conventionally bred but are selections made over probably thousands of years from naturally occurring hybrids. Cultivated bananas are very nearly sterile and as a consequence are not propagated from seed but rather through vegetative propagation, primarily suckers as well as more recently micropropagated or tissue cultured bananas. These factors, very old selections, near sterility and vegetative propagation, mean that these bananas have not been genetically improved either for resistance or improved quality and are becoming increasing in affected by serious pests and diseases.

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