Advancing sustainable coffee production
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, “Genome sequencing has
the power to revolutionize food security and sustainable agriculture.” The access to Arabica coffee genome enables coffee breeders to accelerate efforts to increase the productivity, quality, and profitability of coffee growing worldwide. Most countries that grow predominantly Arabica coffee have already seen declining production over recent decades.
Having a genome sequence available enables researchers to understand and target key agronomic traits that matter to farmers and coffee drinkers—for example, better or novel flavors, uniform fruit ripening, resistance to disease, adaptation for the hotter, drier climates of the future, or adaptability to growth under shade. Such efforts are expected to have considerable benefits for coffee farmers, coffee drinkers, and the environment.
Genome sequences for other crops allowed breeders to identify the genetic and molecular mechanisms that synchronize the ripening process, improve plants’ resistance to devastating diseases and infections, and to adapt plants for changing climate conditions, including rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, and heavy flooding.