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Bananas are under threat of extinction — here's why

According to the BBC, a wild banana that may hold the key to protecting the world’s edible banana crop has been added to the extinction list.

The banana grows in Madagascar, where there are reportedly only five mature trees left existing in the wild.

Scientists believe that saving them is crucial to saving the existence of bananas worldwide.

A type of Madagascan banana named Ensete perrieri could be the key to saving bananas. (Photo: Getty Images)

Why?

The vast majority of bananas sold in supermarkets are known as Cavendish bananas, named after William Cavendish, the sixth Duke of Devonshire, whose gardens are where the first plant originated before being cloned.

Bananas are under serious threat. (Photo: Getty Images)

Bananas might be in serious danger of going extinct.

However, Cavendish bananas are under threat from Panama disease, a disease of the roots of banana plants,  which is affecting plants across Asia.

Richard Allen, senior conservation assessor at the Royal Botanic Gardens in London, said the Madagascan banana species, Ensete perrieri, could have a built-in tolerance to the disease.

“It doesn’t have Panama disease in it, so perhaps it has genetic traits against the disease,” Allen told the BBC. “We don’t know until we actually do research on the banana itself, but we can’t do the research until it’s saved.”

Scientists hope that the vulnerable banana’s inclusion on the latest official Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature will highlight its threat.

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