From crop to cup: A new genetic map could make your morning coffee more climate resilient.

C. Graphical representation of the arabica chromosome. a Consistency and completeness of genome assembly and location of rDNA arrays. b Synteny plots between C. Arabica Subgenome c Gene and transposable elements (TE) density in 4,467 non-overlapping genomic windows corresponding to 100 Kb of non-repetitive DNA and A/B type chromatin compartments. In all panels, the y-axis indicates million base pairs (Mbp). Credit: Nature Communications (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-44449-8

A new genetic map of the Arabica coffee plant, Coffea arabica, may help breeders make further progress. Climate related wine.

Coffee is by far the second most consumed beverage on earth. 2 billion cups Enjoying every day. It is also a valuable commodity and in 2023 the global market value was higher than USD93 billion dollars (£74 billion).

With its superior smooth flavor and many fine varieties, Arabica coffee beans make up about 60%-70%. World coffee production. Coffee cultivation also directly supports livelihoods. 25 million family farmers With another 100 million people involved in coffee processing and retailing.

But coffee crops are also threatened by climate change in many parts of the world, and we need to use breeding to help the crops adapt to new conditions, as well as grow them in such areas. are less sensitive to factors such as drought.

Published in Nature Communications, the study could help create more productive and climate-changing coffee varieties. These new insights could not come at a more important time for coffee crops.

Secrets of coffee genetics

A landmark study by an international group of scientists has uncovered surprising genetic factors that influence the diversity of hundreds of Arabians. Types of coffee increased worldwide. The new work, led by a team from Italy’s University of Udine, also reveals surprising similarities between the genetics of coffee and other important crops, including potatoes, brassicas and wheat.

These crops are called tetraploids Because they have four copies of each gene, two copies (one from each parent) are found in humans and almost all other animals. As shown below, the Arabica genome contains eleven groups of chromosomes each containing two copies of their respective parents, Coffia canifera in blue and Coffia eugenioides in green. In some cases, parts of the blue and green chromosomes are mixed.

Unlike food crops such as wheat or potatoes, which have been extensively bred over decades or centuries Drought tolerant or Resistant to insects– Coffee has lagged behind in the use of modern breeding methods.

This involves the use of more precise DNA-based techniques such as Genome editing This includes changes in DNA. These methods, whatever they are. Used in medicineenables us to identify and precisely manipulate parts of a crop’s genome or genetic code to improve many aspects of performance.

With more detailed information about coffee’s genetic makeup, researchers can begin to use these methods to improve coffee varieties. One of the problems with Arabica coffee is that our current varieties are not very diverse.

However, there are many wild species of coffee that are very diverse and a goal would be to create more resilient hybrids between wild and cultivated species. This will allow breeders to create a wide variety of coffees that can grow in many different regions of the world.

Climate-proof coffee?

In 2022, one Swiss studies showed that Arabica coffee crops face unprecedented threats from climate change that could seriously affect major growing regions such as Brazil and Ethiopia. Parts of these areas may become unsuitable for coffee cultivation due to increased incidence of drought and new pest or disease threats.

Breeders are already using innovative methods to develop others. Drought tolerant crops. In the future, it can be applied to coffee. Indeed, earlier work in Portugal and Latin America had already shown that new hybrid varieties from East Timor had a form of useful disease resistance and increased vigor. heterosis.

This new knowledge will increase the ability to develop new coffee hybrids that are suitable for places like India and New Caledonia where they can be a new crop for farmers.

While coffee crops face significant threats. It is gratifying that we are now able to understand the amazing genetic complexity of coffee plants in unprecedented detail. New genetic knowledge may also lead to the development of new flavors that will further diversify the appeal of coffees in different regions of the world.

With the development of more precise breeding equipment to produce more resilient varieties, A new era may be dawning for both farmers and consumers.

More information:
Simone Scalabrin et al., A chromosome-scale assembly reveals chromosomal aberrations and translocations that drive genetic diversity in coffee arabica germplasm, Nature Communications (2024). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-44449-8

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Reference: From crop to cup: A new genetic map could make your morning coffee more flexible (2024, February 17) https://phys.org/news/2024-02-crop-cup-genetic 17 February 2024 -morning Retrieved from -coffee.html

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