Plant & zo
The science of plants and more
Grafting: Now also possible for banana trees
Grafting, connecting and fusing a part of one plant with the stem on another plant, is a widespread method used by growers. It allows to combine preferred traits. Such as disease resistance or having a strong root system and the ideal hight or fruit production.
That two plants can fuse in this way, and still produce seeds is enabled by the growing points of a plant. In dicot plants, like tomato or apple, these growth regions are located at the outer ends of the plant. This allows that a removed part of the plant continues to grow as long it is provided with nutrients. Monocot plants, like wheat or banana trees, have their growth region at the bottom of the stem. This made it impossible to graft monocot plants.
Up till now. Researchers showed that it is indeed possible. First, they found out which part of the growth region was needed. It turned out that it was the stem-growth region of an immature plant embryo that was required. Swapping these with one of another plant resulted in a plant that looked like a non-grafted plant. But not only that, grafting wheat the researchers showed that the communication between the two parts of these grafted plants is similar to that of non-grafted plants.
This method of grafting monocot plants is not only working for crops like wheat or rice, but also for other monocots like bananas, pineapples, and palm trees. And this is something that growers can really use. So that also for those plants they can also use the ideal combination of traits to protect the plant against diseases while keeping the fruit we all love.
Reeves, G., Tripathi, A., Singh, P., Jones, M.R.W., Nanda, A.K., Musseau, C., Craze, M., Bowden, S., Walker, J.F., Bentley, A.R., Melnyk, C.W. and Hibberd, J.M. (2022) Monocotyledonous plants graft at the embryonic root–shoot interface. Nature 602, 280–286 doi.org: 10.1038/s41586-021-04247-y