Coffee genome sheds light on the structure of Robusta coffee
Enzymes that help produce caffeine evolved independently in coffee, tea and chocolate, say scientists who have newly sequenced the coffee plant genome
An important new paper for coffee lovers has recently been published based on work with Robusta (Coffea canephora). It illustrates the evolution of genes involved in caffeine biosynthesis, as well as genes for secondary compounds and disease resistance. This genome will be important for future efforts to generate disease resistant varieties using Coffea canephora while maintaining the marketable traits important in export-quality coffee.
“What we would really like to have and we will work towards is of course the Arabica genome which is the more predominant and higher quality species,” said Tim Schilling, executive director of World Coffee Research. “But just having >50% of the Arabica genome through knowing the full sequence of the canephora genome is going to help us accelerate our progress at breeding higher quality, rust resistant varieties that can withstand greater effects of climate change.”
This paper is a landmark achievement that will be felt by coffee lovers and coffee producers in the next five years when there is more understanding of which part of the genome is important for various traits. “Then we can apply new, fast methods and assemble all those genes into the coffee plant. And we’ll do that without necessarily using GMO type technologies. We can do it through enhanced classic techniques,” Schilling continued.
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Meet the world’s most important coffee disease that you’ve never heard of – rust fungus, a.k.a. “la roya.”
Young coffee plants seeking good homes – will work for room and board
Coffee plantlets ready for shipping.
The first shipment of coffee plantlets from World Coffee Research (WCR) to test farms in 19 countries goes out this summer. This is a major milestone for the International Multi-Location Variety Trial (IMLVT) designed to aid coffee farmers by establishing a decision tool that will give them real information about the best possible varieties to grow.
Dr. Tim Schilling, Executive Director of WCR believes the Variety Trial is the key to success for the future of coffee. “The use of several ‘extreme climate environments’ in this global trial will allow us to see how these varieties perform under ‘future’ climates predicted for 30 and 50 years from now,” he said. “This will be the first time we’ll be able to see how climate change is really going to affect coffee in the future.”
If you buy coffee from The Coffee Source, ask them to match dollars with you.
Founded in 1944 by two coffee growing families in Costa Rica, The Coffee Source recently signed on to support World Coffee Research through the Check-Off program. And they are matching 100% which means double the support for WCR (importer and roaster).
Investing in the future
Sustainable Harvest Specialty Coffee Importers joined World Coffee Research to work with the Check-Off program. Sustainable Harvest is an importer of high quality specialty-grade coffees from over fifteen countries around the world.