Questions for Saving the banana | Science News for Students

Questions for Saving the banana

Aug 28, 2014 — 8:53 am EST


Before reading

1.    What does a banana taste like? Is it sweet or spicy? What about a plantain? How do they differ? (If you’ve never tasted one or the other, ask your classmates or teacher if they have.)

2.    Plants can get infected with diseases, just like people. How might a disease affect a plant?

During reading

1.    Why are diseases that affect banana plants such a big worry?

2.    Why don’t stores sell any of the Gros Michel variety of bananas?

3.    How might TR4 travel from Asia to South America?

4.    What are suckers, and why are they important in banana farming?

5.    Where is the world’s largest collection of banana varieties, and how many varieties does it hold?

6.    Why might a banana variety be inedible?

7.    What is Panama disease?

8.    Why are disease-resistant banana plants needed?

9.    List the ways that banana farmers make use of banana plants.

10. Describe how James Dale can add a gene to a banana plant.

After reading

1.    Why would stores still be able to sell bananas even if TR4 wipes out the popular Cavendish variety?

2.    Making banana plants resistant to disease takes years of work and costs a lot of money. Why might this be a good investment? Why might it be a waste?


Bananas are often grown in tropical regions of the world where it is always hot and there is lots of rain. Find ten countries that have conditions suitable for growing banan

Further Reading

A. Pearce Stevens. Saving the banana. Science News for Students. Aug. 28, 2014.