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Panama Disease: An Old Nemesis Rears its Ugly Head -- Part 2. The Cavendish Era and Beyond

R. C. Ploetz

March 2006


Panama disease is caused by a variable fungus, Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (FOC). A new variant of FOC, tropical race 4 (TR4), threatens export and subsistence production worldwide. The realization that formae speciales of F. oxysporum can be polyphyletic began with work on FOC. Two or more phylotaxa are now recognized in many ff. spp., and at least three are known in FOC. Those who improve banana must recognize the variation in FOC that has been revealed by the phylogenetic work.


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