A true coffee lover can tell the difference between the good coffee and everything else. That’s why we at Bristol Nicaragua only sell the good stuff. Coffee arabica, which is the high-quality flavor of coffee that coffee lovers drink daily in espresso, cappuccino, and in other forms, is very much a part of coffee drinking culture. It’s the coffee flavor that we all crave because of its aroma and full-bodied flavor.
Just like any other crop, coffee crops can be susceptible to disease and this can impact the yield from year to year. A public genome sequencing of this Coffea arabica aims to ensure that coffee lovers everywhere never have to go without their Arabica.
Robusta Coffee Genome Project
There have been other coffee genome projects in the past. One coffee genome project was done in 2014 on the Coffea canephora - this is commonly known as robusta coffee and is the type that is used for instant coffee and coffee blends. This genome project may have been the inspiration for the C. arabica genome. No one has made a C. arabica genome project publicly available until now.
C. Arabica Genome Project
An international food and beverage company from Tokyo provided funding for genome sequencing of Coffea Arabica, which is the species of coffee that more than 70 percent of coffee production depends on.
The Geisha variety of Arabica bean was used in the study where scientists took a close look at the information encoded in the DNA of the Geisha Arabica plant. The goal is to develop breeding programs to help create plants that are resistant to disease, have better yield, and offer better quality of coffee.
Details of the genome project have been released and are available for immediate use by plant breeders and scientists around the world. This is good news, because as climate change progresses over the years, this could impact coffee production in the next 30 years. This could mean that there is less coffee to go around or that the prices of coffee would have to go up. For those who must have their daily cup of coffee before they really feel awake, the prospect of not having coffee is simply not an option.
Results of C. Arabica Genome
The C. arabica Genome project revealed some interesting results. It was estimated that the Geisha variety has a genome made up of nearly 1.2 billion base pairs - that is about one third of what the human genome is made up of.
The plan going forward is for scientists to investigate the molecular pathways of the Geisha, hoping these will provide more insight into the flavor profiles of Geisha variety Arabica coffee.
Scientists have already sequenced samples from 22 other Geisha coffee trees to see the type of variation that can occur within the Geisha variety, and will also look at 13 other Coffea arabica varieties. They can use this combined information to create a plant that is resistant to disease and able to thrive during the changes to climate that we are now experiencing and are likely to continue experiencing in the future.
Effects of Genome Project
Coffee farmers are likely to embrace the scientific discoveries resulting from the genome project as their livelihood depends on good coffee yields. Coffee growers have been and remain concerned about the impact of climate change but, if they can have diseases such as leaf rust eliminated, they can continue to deliver the coffee that we all know and love.