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Report2023Open access

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Banana Breeding and Data Management

Akech, Violet


Banana is an important food and cash crop with a worldwide production of about 114 million metric tons. Banana is among the ten most important crops in the world and a staple food and cash crop in the Great Lakes region of East Africa, where it contributes to the livelihood of millions of people who are mainly small-scale farmers. Despite its importance, the edible yield is still low at just 9% of its yield potential. Bananas’ low yield is attributed to both abiotic and biotic constraints. Breeding for host plant resistance and tolerance is the most ideal method for managing pathogens and pests and abiotic factors, respectively. Significant progress has been made in banana breeding to address these constraints through cross-hybridization and selection of recombinants at the diploid level to generate new improved hybrids by various breeding programmes like the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), where sources of host plant resistance to various pathogens and pests are available in wild diploid species. However, the bananas grown for consumption are primarily seedless triploids and vegetatively propagated, which limits gene flow and recombination, thus hampering genetic improvement.
Seed set is generally extremely limited and seed viability and germination rates are low, which complicates breeding efforts and intensifies the resources and time required to develop superior cultivars. Crossbreeding of bananas involves a series of activities and data workflows starting with the selection of parents, the crossing of the parents (hand pollination/hybridization), tissue culture activities for embryo rescue and clonal multiplication of hybrids, and evaluation of the progeny in Early Evaluation Trials (EET) for advanced yield trials in which improved hybrids are selected for cultivar release. These processes are costly in terms of resources and time required and thus should be organised efficiently.
This manual aims to document standard operating procedures (SOPs) for banana breeding as efforts towards modernization of the breeding process pipeline. Four SOPs have been written and these are: SOP 01: Crossing to obtain hybrids for matooke breeding; SOP 02: Ploidy analysis in banana; SOP 03: Establishment of Early Evaluation Trials; and SOP 04: Phenotyping and data management of Early Evaluation Trials (EET) in matooke (AAA) breeding. These SOPs will be beneficial to the banana breeding programme by their availability as ‘how-to’ manuals, ensuring consistency and accuracy to reduce costly mistakes.


Banana; crossbreeding; hybrid; Musa; standard operating procedures

Published in

Introductory paper at the Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science
2023, number: 2023:3
Publisher: Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Science, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Genetics and Breeding

    Permanent link to this page (URI)