Every living thing has a built-in manual for building their body – called the genome. It’s made up of DNA, which contains the coded instruction for creating protein molecules that structure each organism.
A comparison of the entire genomes of humans and bananas shows that we share about 60 percent of our DNA with them, but it doesn’t mean the two have a common ancestor.
Humans and Bananas Have a Common Ancestor
Bananas are one of the most popular plants in the world, and have been domesticated for thousands of years. They were likely first bred for their ability to produce fruit without fertilization and to be seedless, which allowed farmers to harvest more fruits.
But the ancestry of cultivated bananas isn’t straightforward: Varieties can have two (referred to as “diploid”), three (referred to as “triploid”) or four (referred to as “tetraploid”) copies of every chromosome and some are descended from wild species. This complication adds to the complexity of their evolutionary history, which was thought to have evolved in the northern borderlands between India and Myanmar and to have spread across Australasia about 10 million years ago.
But recent smaller-scale studies have revealed that even this highly complex scenario may not be the whole story. A study published in Frontiers in Plant Science has shown that the genomes of many modern cultivated banana varieties contain traces of at least three extra, as yet unknown, wild ancestors.
Humans and Bananas Have a Common Physiology
We’ve all heard the fun little fact that humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas. It’s a common conversation starter during parties and trivia nights, but it’s also one of the most misunderstood facts in science.
Our bodies are made up of cells, and every cell is a complex machine with a complicated set of instructions. These instructions are encoded in a chemical called deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA for short.
This molecule has a natural shape that looks like a double helix and is used to carry information between cells, create proteins, and regulate many important functions such as reproduction.
It’s often confused with other chemicals such as RNA, but the DNA is a very important component of a living organism. It’s responsible for a host of things such as identifying new chromosomes, replicating itself and other DNA strands, coding information and many other vital tasks.
Humans and Bananas Have a Common Habitat
Throughout history, people have used bananas as a symbol of power and wealth. They are also a key food for countless communities.
Bananas grow in tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where they are an important part of local and regional diets. Across the globe, they are traded in large quantities by international firms for commercial purposes.
However, the banana production and trade system has been characterized by power imbalances between the international firms that own and supply the fruit and the local agricultural workers who cultivate and harvest it. This has caused serious problems to both the natural environment and human health worldwide.
The genome of Musa acuminata is an interesting example of the complexity of evolution, as it shows several rounds of ancestral whole-genome duplications (WGD). This pattern has not been detected in other cultivated diploid plants.
Humans and Bananas Have a Common Diet
Bananas are elongated, edible fruits that grow on several kinds of large herbaceous flowering plants in the genus Musa. They are commonly eaten raw or used in various recipes for snacks and desserts.
They are also used to make fruit preserves and banana pancakes. Moreover, bananas are used as food coloring or flavoring in certain dishes.
In fact, bananas are considered a staple of the diet of many people around the world. However, some individuals are allergic to bananas and may develop severe symptoms when exposed to them.
The body’s immune system reacts to these allergens by releasing proteins called antibodies. The antibodies then locate and dispose of the allergens from the body.
A person who is allergic to bananas can experience a variety of symptoms, such as itchy red spots on the skin, watery eyes, nasal congestion, a scratchy throat and dizziness. These reactions can be serious, especially in infants. Therefore, it is important to identify an allergy before consuming the fruit.