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Karamura, Deborah

Deborah Karamura. Credit: Bioversity International
Deborah Karamura. Credit: Bioversity International

Musa germplasm scientist

Deborah Karamura, a Ugandan National and a Musa Germplasm Scientist, studies the genetic composition, pre-breeding characterization, and potential of East African Musa landraces. Activities include:

  • studying the role of crop macro-biome associations in banana farming systems to understand the resilience of these systems, including the development and deployment of tools and approaches for sampling and classifying plant groups in relation to their functions.
  • Pre-breeding; studying the variation existing in diploid banana landraces of East Africa with regard to male fertility and resistance to weevils, nematodes and black Sigatoka as well as pro-vitamin A carotenoid content to understand their potential in the banana crop improvement programme.
  • Phenotyping the East African Highland banana hybrids to map pVit A distribution in the collection accessions and the potential for use in crop improvement.
  • Retooling regional scientists on Musa germplasm data capture and analysis using multivariate statistics.
  • Within the framework of MusaNet, provides expertise to the diversity thematic group with emphasis on the East African highland bananas.

Prior to joining Bioversity International in 2000, Deboarh worked as the Head of Plant Genetic Resources Programme, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry/ National Agricultural Research Organization where she was responsible for crop collections (bananas, cassava and sweet potatoes), carrying out inventories and characterizing varieties. She also worked as a Musa Germplasm Specialist, INIBAP, executing the 'Musa on Farm conservation' project to establish the conservation status and utilization of traditional Musa genotypes on farm. 



  • PhD in crop Taxonomy (Numerical Taxonomy of the East African Highland bananas), University of Reading
  • MSc in Pure and Applied Plant Taxonomy, University of Reading

Publication highlights:

Kitavi, M.: Downing, T.; Karamura, D.; Onyango, M.; Ferguson, M.; Spillane, C. (2016) The triploid East African Highland Banana (EAHB) genepool is genetically uniform arising from a single ancestral clone that underwent population expansion by vegetative propagation. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Volume 129, Issue 3, pp 547-561.

Hamilton, A., Karamura, D., and Kakudidi, E., 2016 History and conservation of wild and Cultivated plant diversity in Uganda: forest species and banana varieties as case studies. Plant diversity 1 (2016) 26-52. http:// journal

Karamura, D., Ocimati, W., Ssali, R., Jogo, W. , Walyaula, S. and   Karamura, E.  (2012) Banana genotype composition along the Uganda-D R Congo Border: a gene pool mix for plantain and highland bananas. In Blomme, G., Van  Asten, P., & Vanlauwe, B. 2013 Banana systems in the humid highlands of sub-Saharan Africa. Enhancing Resilience and Productivity. CABI book, chapter 3.

Karamura, D., Roux, N., Barekye, A., Van den Houwe, I, Tindamanyire, M., Karamura, E., Ssali, R., Onyango, M., Kiggundu, A., Tushemereirwe, W., Channelière, S., Ruas, M., Gaidashova, S., Mukulila, S., Maasa, E. (2011) Pair wise estimation of dissimilarity between Musa accessions regenerated under medium term conditions and accessions without in vitro culture maintained in the East African Musa field gene bank. In: Abstracts for ISHS/ProMusa symposium; Bananas and plantains; Toward sustainable global production and improved uses. Bahia Othon Palace Hotel, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Pg.128-12 9.

Onyango, M.; Karamura, D.; Keely, S.; Manshardt, R.; Haymar, D. (2010) Morphological characterisation of East African AAB and AA dessert bananas (Musa spp.) In ISHS/ProMusa Banana Symposium Global Perspectives on Asian Challenges. Programme and abstracts. Smith, M.; Bingzhi, H.; Swennen, R.; Roux, N.; Yuerong, W.; Hermanto, C.; Churchill, A.; Molina, A. (eds.). Guangzhou 14-18 Sep 2009. p. 13-14