Combining Biological Approaches to Shed Light on the Evolution of Edible Bananas


  • Xavier Perrier Centre de cooperation internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement



Deciphering the diversity of the banana complex needs a joint characterization and analysis of the original wild species and their relatives, primitive diploid forms and triploid derived varieties. Sexuality, the primary source of diversity, is strongly disrupted in the cultivated varieties (sterility, parthenocarpy and vegetative propagation) by human selection of vegetatively maintained punctuated mutations. Many biological tools are available for characterizing this diversity, each one illustrating some peculiar facets, and we show that their joint analysis enables an evolutionary reading of this diversity. We propose various scenarios regarding the structure of wild species, on the domestication of the edible diploids from hybrids between wild forms, on the direct ancestry of triploids from cultivated diploids, and on the ancient migrations dispersing cultivated forms around the world. The comparison with data from archaeology, linguistics and human genetics will enable the validation, refinement and dating of the proposed domestication process.






How to Cite

Perrier, X. (2009). Combining Biological Approaches to Shed Light on the Evolution of Edible Bananas. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, 7, 199–216. Retrieved from