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The world's most common banana, the Cavendish, could become extinct. A fungus called TP4 is killing millions of banana plants. The fungus blocks the banana plant from taking in water, so it dies. Scientists first found TP4 in Malaysia in 1990. It quickly spread to other parts of Asia. Then it went to Australia and Africa. TP4 is carried by the wind, water, cars and people's feet. A small amount of TP4 spreads across large areas very quickly.
Before the Cavendish banana, we ate a variety called the Gros Michel. Fifty years ago, it was the world's main banana. By 1965, a fungus called Panama Disease had killed it. Banana growers changed to the Cavendish banana. Now the Cavendish is in trouble. TP4 stays in the ground for a long time, so new plants cannot grow. One answer is to grow genetically modified (GM) bananas. Diseases like TP4 cannot kill them.
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