Are bananas at risk of going extinct?

Bananas with peanut-butter. Bananas mushed up with a fork and combined with sugar and flour and made into banana bread. Bananas with honey and bread and bacon. Bananas deep-fried and served with vanilla ice-cream. Guys, bananas are the best —whichever form they come in. But unfortunately, we have some sad banana news.

They’re slowly, but surely, going extinct. According to a new study, it has been officially confirmed that an awful fungal disease has been infecting the world’s crown jewel of fruit. A (very dense) study documents the progression and the horror that the disease, Tropical Race 4, will wreak on the fruit.

Gert Kema, a banana expert at Wageningen University and Research Center recently sat down with Quartz to discuss the issue. “We know that the origin of [Tropical Race 4] is in Indonesia and that it spread from there, most likely first into Taiwan and then into China and the rest of Southeast Asia.” The deadly fungus did not stop there though, and now has spread to Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, and Mozambique, and Australia’s northeast Queensland. Check out this chart to see what happened to Taiwan’s banana export trade due to the disease.

The problem is that all bananas are clones of each other. Bananas cannot sexually reproduce and therefore cannot evolve, which means that they are completely defenseless to disease and infection. The issue is destroying many people’s livelihoods, as well as cutting deeply into their main source of food. Hopefully farmers are able to get a handle on the disease by altering their farming methods, but until then, savor bananas while you can!

(Image via iStock)