Collection of new diversity of wild and cultivated bananas (Musa spp.) in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea
Bananas (Musa spp.), including dessert and cooking types, are of major importance in the tropics. Due to extremely high levels of sterility, the diversity of cultivated bananas is fixed over long periods of time to the existing genotypes. This pattern puts banana-based agrosystems at risk. Therefore, assessing the extent of wild and cultivated banana diversity, conserving it and making it available for further use is a priority. We report here the collection of new wild and cultivated banana germplasm in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. In total, 61 accessions were collected and their names and uses were recorded when possible. Classification was also provided based on the observations made in the field. Three wild specimens were collected. Among the 58 cultivated accessions, we noted that eight were used as ornamental plants, seven were edible varieties of the Fe’i type and two were natural tetraploids from the Musa section. The ploidy was then checked by flow cytometry and the accessions were genotyped with a set of 19 SSR markers. The genotyping results were merged to the dataset from Christelová et al. (Biodivers Conserv 26:801–824, 2017). This joint analysis helped refine or confirm the classification of the collected accessions. It also allowed to identify 10 private alleles and 35 genotypes or Genotype Groups that were not present in the wider dataset. Finally, it shed light on the diversification processes at work in the region, such as the capture of mutations by farmers and the likely occurrence of geneflow within the cultivated genepool.