Coffee in crisis: Transgenics to the rescue?

CREDIT: Aaron Logan, Wikimedia Commons

The following is an edited excerpt.

Central American coffee production is on red alert because of the coffee rust fungus. The fungus currently afflicts 50% of all growing areas in the region.

Some coffee varieties will not be affected by the disease since they are naturally resistant. These varieties are the Robusta varieties, which are considered to be of lower quality than their Arabica counterparts. We need something new. We need Arabica coffee varieties that are naturally resistant to the fungus.

One way we could do this is through conventional breeding, but developing a pure Arabica, rust-resistant variety and releasing it for commercial use could take up to a decade, which is too much time.

We need transgenics to save coffee.

Read the full article here: Coffee the next crop to be saved by Transgenics?

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