You have likely heard about genetically modified foods, such as the (now non-existent) FlavrSavr tomato. You’ve probably also heard of the Human Genome Project, which mapped out the human genetic blueprint for disease research and a variety of other scientific purposes. Regardless of where you stand, both have raised ethical questions and opposition.
What you may not have heard is that there is an international coffee genome project in the works. As reported in today’s Financial Express, India’s Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) is in the works developing genetic maps of coffee plants, with one goal being to breed better beans in the future: Concocting a new brew of coffee.
For as nasty as the robusta bean can be, it’s often a necessary ingredient in a well-rounded espresso blend. And India grows and refines some of the highest quality robusta in the world.
It remains to be seen whether coffee will undergo controversial genetic manipulation to achieve the right, resilient blends for consumption. For now, it appears their goals are to improve our knowledge about managing coffee plants and how we might cross-breed them to introduce specific characteristics.
Controversy aside, it was only a matter of time before biotech met the coffee cup.
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