Coffee is said to be as one of the most important crops in the world, not just because it forms an essential part of the working day for many us, but also economically, with an amazing 2.25 billion cups estimated as being consumed every day.
It is therefore not surprising that an international group of scientists, coordinated by researchers from IRD, the CEA (Genoscope), CIRAD, the CNRS, and the University of Buffalo (United States), and involving many laboratories, have come together to produce a reference genome sequence for coffee trees.
The results from the sequencing of the Coffea canephora genome have now been published in Science.
Particular attention was paid to the evolution of caffeine, which has evolved multiple times in different plant species (including tea and cacao) in a process known as convergent evolution.
The availability of this reference genome will offer new possibilities for the development of new coffee varieties with resistance to diseases or indeed different flavours.
Journal Reference: F. Denoeud et al. The coffee genome provides insight into the convergent evolution of caffeine biosynthesis. Science, 2014; 345 (6201): 1181 DOI: 10.1126/science.1255274