Bananas are facing potential extinction, researchers have cautioned, as a deadly tropical disease sweeps across crops worldwide.
Known as Panama disease, or Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. cubense, the fungal infection has already spread throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and Central America.
Should the infection reach South America, researchers warn the Cavendish banana, the species most commonly sold and consumed worldwide could face extinction.
Cavendish bananas are genetically identical to one another, which allows Panama disease to rapidly decimate entire harvest yields.
Some five billion Cavendish bananas are eaten each year in the UK alone.
Right now, Plant biologists are rushing to create a hybrid of the two species of banana in the hope of creating a infection-resistant strain.