They got the tomato in May, and now researchers have sequenced the banana genome, too. It's no mere scientific exercise—the feat could have huge implications in the developing world, explains the Los Angeles Times. Bananas are a vital source of food for hundreds of millions, but they're also under siege worldwide from a host of pests and diseases. Unraveling the genome should help breeders—of both the conventional and genetic variety—grow a healthier and better-tasting fruit.
"The people of the world—small farmers and multinationals alike—are growing varieties made by Mother Nature thousands of years ago," says an expert in Belgium. Why? Because edible bananas have no seeds; they're grown from shoots instead, which makes improving the stock all but impossible. That should change now.