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From crop to cup – a new genetic map could make your morning coffee more climate resilient

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Conversation or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: An international group of scientists, led by the University of Udine, Italy, has unveiled a groundbreaking genetic map of the arabica coffee plant, Coffea arabica
• This map reveals the genetic diversity underlying hundreds of arabica varieties and shows surprising genetic similarities with other major crops

🔭 The context: Arabica coffee, making up 60%-70% of global coffee production, faces significant threats from climate change
• This study provides crucial insights into the genetic makeup of arabica coffee, which could enable the development of more climate-resilient varieties through advanced breeding techniques

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: The genetic map could lead to the production of coffee varieties with higher yields and increased resilience to climate change, crucial for the livelihoods of over 125 million people involved in coffee cultivation, processing, and retailing worldwide

⏭️ What's next: The newfound genetic understanding opens up possibilities for using more precise DNA-based breeding methods to improve coffee varieties
• This could include creating hybrids between wild and cultivated species, leading to a broader range of coffee plants that can thrive under various environmental conditions

💬 One quote: "With more detailed information about the genetic makeup of coffee, researchers can begin to use these methods to improve coffee varieties," highlighting the potential of this study to revolutionize coffee breeding for better adaptability and diversity

📈 One stat: Coffee is the second most consumed beverage on earth, with over 2 billion cups enjoyed daily, emphasizing the global significance of this crop

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