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Coffee has evolved twice!

The coffee genome has just been published. Denoeud et al have sequenced the genome of coffee (biological name Coffea canephora). They found that within coffee’s 11 chromosome pairs, that there were many duplicated genes which include the one that code for the production of caffeine. They also suggested that these duplications enhance the products produced by the coffee plant to produce more effective proteins.

The research also found that unlike tea and cacao (the chocolate component), the genes that code for the production of caffeine, in the coffee plant, are different to the genome sequence for the tea and cacao caffeine-producing enzymes, defining that the caffeine production genome has evolved at least two times.
The genome sequence could help in research to help identify the genes that help the plant to combat diseases (related to the plant) and to also cope with climate change and to also encourage more delicious tasting coffee!

To read more about coffee and caffeine here’s my previous detailed blog post on the good and not-so-good of coffee and caffeine click here: Coffee: the good, the better and the not-so-good

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[1] F. Denoeud et al. The coffee genome provides insight into the convergent evolution of caffeine biosynthesis.Science. Vol. 345, September 5, 2014, p. 1181. doi: 10.1126/science.1255274.