Science is now being used on everything we see. It has come a long way from the classrooms. It is now very much an everyday living thing that, thanks to television and some great teachers (and writers) most everyone understands. Thanks to the show CSI, everyone knows how important DNA is. Who would have thought though that it would also be important for coffee growers?
In Brazil, they have what is known as the Coffee Genome project. Begun in 2004, various institutions and universities throughout the country are engaged in finding solutions to improving the growth of coffee. They look to find ways to make the fruits hardier and better able to withstand pests without destroying the quality of the bean or harming the plant. It makes quite a change from the times when the farmers used arsenic to get rid of the pests. Then the pests may be killed but the farmers to would be poisoned. Not the ideal solution.
Currently, Brazil now has the largest coffee data bank, thanks to all the organizations involved in the research. It now has over 200,000 DNA sequences stored. They note that there are over a hundred kind of coffee but only Arabica and Robusta are grown commercially. The rest will now be utilized to genetically improve the two chosen kinds.