The edible banana differs from its wild relatives in three important fundamentals. First, it is parthenocarpic, and it produces fruits without pollination, and without sexual fertilisation. Second, it has both female and male sterility, in the sense that both the ovules and the pollen may be present but they are non-functional.

However, a gametic sterility often occurs also, meaning that the ovules and pollen are never formed at all. Third, most banana cultivars are triploids. This alone would make the breeding very difficult, even if bananas did set seed.

Incredible though it may seem, banana breeding is possible, and the experts think that there is room for cautious optimism. But this is definitely a task for specialists.

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