Edible bananas are normally parthenocarpic and seedless, a condition which ensures edibility but limits their use in hybridizations to generate new combinations of targeted traits for crop improvement. Hybridizations involving edible bananas result in too few or no viable hybrid seeds thus constituting a fertility crisis which seriously hampers banana breeding efforts. This chapter discusses the key processes surrounding effective pollination, fertilization and viable seed production in relation to our current knowledge on banana reproductive biology and the gaps in our current understanding. The chapter explores possible limiting stages to these processes and provides insights on ways to overcome the fertility crisis to expand the possibilities for gene recombination through intra- and interspecific crosses.
Table of contents
2 Reproductive biology of banana
3 Bract opening in banana
4 Fertilization and seed set
5 Embryo dormancy: a cause for poor germination?
6 Parthenocarpy and sterility
7 Conclusion and future trends
8 Where to look for further information