Dan Koeppel is a well-known outdoors, nature, and adventure writer who has written for the New York Times Magazine, Outside, Audubon, Popular Science, and National Geographic Adventure, where he is a contributing editor. He has written two books: To See Every Bird on Earth and Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World. Koeppel has also appeared on CNN and Good Morning America, and is a former commentator for Public Radio International's Marketplace.
Dan Koeppel's website
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A conversation with Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World
What initially got you interested in writing about the
I read a small article in a science journal about an incurable disease that - even though the general public hadnt heard of it - had the potential to destroy the worlds banana crop. I ended up with a magazine assignment, and wrote a story on the disease. I love bananas, and I couldnt believe that they could disappear.
Is it true that the bananas we eat now are not the same as the bananas from fifty years ago?
Thats right. The banana our grandparents ate was a different - and most people say better tasting - breed called the Gros Michel. But that banana was wiped out by a variant of the blight, called Panama Disease, that now threatens our version of the fruit, called the Cavendish.
Is it really possible that the banana could one day be extinct?
The Cavendish banana was adopted because it was immune to Panama Disease. But bananas are generally very weak, because, like human identical twins, each one is an exact genetic duplicate of the other. What makes one banana sick makes all bananas sick....
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