Coffee Genome Cracked
Scientists who’ve succeeded in sequencing the 25,574 genes of a leading variety of coffee plant say their breakthrough could improve taste, boost coffee’s health benefits and even lead to naturally decaffeinated coffee. The international project mapped the genome of Coffea canephora, which accounts for 30% of the world’s coffee crop. “This knowledge can be used to breed varieties that meet the demands of growers, processors and consumers, such as resistance to leaf rust disease,” said the Biodiversity International research group, a partner in the project. Identifying the genes responsible for caffeine production could make it possible to grow caffeine-free coffee beans, it added, noting that 12% of the 2.2 billion cups of coffee consumed daily worldwide are decaf.