SCAR Marker for the A Genome of Bananas (Musa spp. L.) Supports Lack of Differentiation between the A and B Genomes

Lloyd Mabonga, Michael Pillay



Bananas (Musa spp. L.) are grouped on the basis of their genomic origins in relation to Musa acuminata (A genome) and M. balbisiana (B genome). The two ancestral wild seeded diploid species evolved in vastly different geographical areas and contributed several agronomic traits towards the present genetic composition of cultivated bananas. Most cultivated bananas are triploid (AAA, AAB and ABB), some are diploid (AA, BB and AB) and a few are tetraploids (AAAA, AAAB, AABB and ABBB). Limitations on the correct identification of the A and B genomes in Musa have generated need for the development of new and more reliable techniques. Distinguishing the A and the B genome remains practically and theoretically important for banana breeders. The aim of the research was to develop a DNA based A genome specific marker for the identification of the A genome in bananas. A putative marker (600 bp) specific to the A genome was identified by Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique. A sequence characterised amplified region (SCAR) marker was developed from the RAPD amplicon. The SCAR primers annealed a 500 bp fragment specific to the A genome in a sample of 22 randomly selected homo- and heterogenomic A genome containing accessions representing different genome combinations. The 500 bp SCAR marker is useful for the identification of the A genome. However an additional 700 bp fragment annealed in all M. balbisiana genotypes and in five of the eight heterogenomic accessions, suggesting lack of differentiation between the A and B genome. This study has provided a 500 bp A genome SCAR marker and recent evidence that the A and B genomes of banana may not be as differentiated as previously considered.

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Journal of Agricultural Science   ISSN 1916-9752 (Print)   ISSN 1916-9760 (Online)  E-mail:

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