WCR launches Arabica gene recognition database!
From 2021 to 2023, the World Coffee Research Organization (WCR) sampled common Arabica coffee varieties in Latin America and Africa, and cooperated with Intertek Agritech Laboratory in Sweden to genotype the samples, establish the SNP fingerprints of the samples, and develop a reference database.
What is a SNP tag?
SNP (single nucleotide diversity) is a molecular genetic marker and an important basis for the study of genetic variation of plant strains. These small variations are distributed as a series of markers in the DNA sequence of plants and can be used to create the genetic "fingerprint" of a variety.
Collect coffee leaf samples for genetic analysis
How to detect coffee heredity by SNP
If the manufacturer wants to check the genetic purity of the coffee tree to make sure they are the right variety, they need to collect the next small leaf from the coffee tree they want to identify, send it to the genotyping laboratory, extract DNA from the leaf sample, read the SNP profile, then compare the SNP fingerprints of the sample with the known SNP fingerprints of the related variety, and when the fingerprints match, the variety can be identified.
WCR said: at present, plant genetic testing cannot be used in the coffee industry on a large scale because of its high price and high cost, and the lack of variety verification may cause some commercial coffee varieties to be misidentified by producers or downstream supply chain participants. In the past, a study on "genetic integration" found that of the 88 samples to be identified as rosy summer coffee, only 61% of coffee trees were genetically consistent (which means 39% did not conform to the expected genetic map of the variety). This "genetic inconsistency" can have devastating economic consequences for farmers, such as farmers who may have planted a so-called disease-resistant variety, but in the end it is genetically inconsistent and more vulnerable to disease infection.
The creation of low-cost, rapid genotyping tools helps participants in the global coffee supply chain to identify and track coffee varieties in the production process, so one of the most important applications of the database is to develop low-cost variety certification, which currently covers 23 common varieties and is open to the public without restriction. WCR plans to add more varieties of SNP fingerprints in the coming months and years.
Coffee varieties covered by the database
The database can help people in the coffee industry to better identify and protect different varieties of Arabica coffee beans, and provide accurate references for coffee appraisers. Coffee suppliers and research institutions can use the database for low-cost, high-quality genotyping for breeding and seed quality control, and seed suppliers and nurseries can provide farmers with a sufficient number of genetically pure and healthy seedlings, which will increase farmers' access to improved and adaptable varieties, thereby increasing yields and profits.
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