Many of the crop species considered to be minor on a global scale, yet are important locally for food security in the developing world, have remained less-studied crops. Recent years have witnessed the development of large-scale genomic and genetic resources, including simple sequence repeat, single nucleotide polymorphism and diversity array technology markers, expressed sequence tags or transcript reads, bacterial artificial chromosome libraries, genetic and physical maps, and genetic stocks with rich genetic diversity, such as core reference sets and introgression lines in these crops. These resources have the potential to accelerate gene discovery and initiate molecular breeding in these crops, thereby enhancing crop productivity to ensure food security in developing countries.
The genus Musa is a large species complex which includes cultivars at diploid and triploid levels. These sterile and vegetatively propagated cultivars are based on the A genome from Musa acuminata, exclusively for sweet bananas such as Cavendish, or associated with the B genome (Musa balbisiana) in cooking bananas such as Plantain varieties. In M. acuminata cultivars, structural heterozygosity is thought to be one of the main causes of sterility, which is essential for obtaining seedless fruits but hampers breeding.