Abstract In a micropropagation program, where it is of paramount importance to produce true-to-type planting material, somaclonal variation of any kind is undesirable. Variation among plants regenerated from tissue culture is termed ‘somaclonal variation’. In banana, somaclonal variants of different types have been reported with regard to plant morphology. This article discusses various factors due to which somaclonal variations may arise. Somaclonal variation may be detected by visual screening or by using molecular markers such as randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD), amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), and by cytological studies. Although somaclonal variation is undesirable in the context of micropropagation, it can be used to advantage for genetic improvement of banana, as has been described.