A simple cryopreservation method is. described for proliferating meristem cultures of banana (Musa spp.). It relies on a 2-week preculture on media containing 0.4 M sucrose followed by rapid cooling in liquid nitrogen. Different preculture media were screened for efficient protection of banana meristems during cryopreservation. Sucrose can be replaced by both fructose and glucose without significantly affecting post-thaw survival. A high BA concentration (100 muM) in the preculture medium results in less material available for cryopreservation, but does not affect cryoprotection. Culture in liquid media significantly improved post-thaw regeneration. The optimized cryopreservation protocol was applied on 36 banana accessions belonging to 8 different genomic groups. It is shown that post-thaw regeneration frequencies (ranging between 0 and 66%) are highly dependent on the genomic constitution of the banana cultivar.