Citizen Science Transforms Banana diversity Conservation

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Thanks to the collective efforts of global citizens and scientists, the Musa Germplasm Information System (MGIS) has reached a significant milestone. As detailed in an article from the Database peer-reviewed journal, and coincidentally released on the Biodiversity Day, the leading resource for banana genetic diversity data has expanded significantly. Thousands of observations have been sourced from multiple digital platforms, including iNaturalist, GBIF, and Pl@ntNet, as well as Flickr and Google Street View, and added to the database.

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Christophe Jenny, an expert on banana diversity and taxonomy at CIRAD, conceived this idea several years ago and began collaborating with scientists at the banana program at the Alliance to explore digital solutions. Over the years, he has tirelessly curated taxonomical information of observations, very often inaccurate in non-specialized crop databases, significantly enhancing the value of data gathered through citizen science.

“Each image helps us to map and understand the rich diversity of bananas around the world, as well as to predict future threats and propose solutions. Citizen science is an invaluable tool here, providing access to local knowledge and raising awareness of the challenges of biodiversity conservation.” he explains.

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