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Collection, Characterization & Use of Genetic Diversity of Indigenous Banana Germplasm in Oman



DescriptionThe understanding and use of resistant traits in traditional and modern breeding programs have the potential to be of great importance for the future management of bananas in Oman and around the world. 

With international trade linking different regions of the world, bananas are increasingly under threat from pests and diseases such as:

  • 1. The fungi Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense which causes Panama Disease
  • 2. Mycospaerella fijiensis which causes Black Sigatoka Leaf Streak
  • 3. Nematodes such as the Burrowing Nematode (Radopholus similis)
  • 4. Banana Weevil (Cosmopolites sordidus).

So far, there seems to be no resistant germplasm to these pests and diseases in commercial cultivars. Hence, this project aims to find tolerance or resistant traits in plants with an already established commercial potential.

Aims & Objectives

​Study morphological and molecular genetic data to investigate the phylogeographical relationships and genetic diversity of traditional / indigenous Omani banana (Musa spp.) cultivars


Actions & OutcomesThe project was initiated with the collection of 12 banana accessions from four Wilayats in Oman.
​Seven banana accessions were collected from Wadi Tiwi in Sur:

1. Billi Alaghbar

2. Barshi Abu qroon

3. Tiwi

4. Beir Oumq

5. Billi

6. Malindi

These were planted first in greenhouse for 10 months and in February 2018 the plants were transferred to the banana field genebank at the Agriculture Research Station, Sohar. Five local banana accessions were collected from Nizwa, Saham and Suhar: 

Dreia, Red Banana, Fard, Nagal, Bovan. 

The suckers of these accessions were initially used for propagation through tissue culture and the resultant seedlings were kept for a period under greenhouse conditions before their transfer to the field gene bank in February 2019.


Follow up / Actions​Morphological & molecular characterization will be initiated