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CATIE participates in discovery of new coffee genetic group in Sudan
- This study confirms the fifth genetic group within Arabica coffee discovered to date.
November 30, 2021. Prior to 2020, the most recent genetic group had been discovered in Kenya during the 1910s. Today, through the use of molecular markers, scientific research has accelerated the validation of two new centers of origin for coffee: Yemen in 2020 and Sudan in 2021, the latter confirmed in the article “Validating South Sudan as Center of OriginforCoffeaarabica: Implicationsforconservation and CoffeeCropImprovement”.
The present study indicates that the wild populations of Arabica coffee in Sudan are genetically distinct from the materials coming from Ethiopia, which has been recognized as the cradle of coffee. To this end, the international collection of CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) provided much of the germplasm necessary to prove the existence of a fifth group, which is named Sudan in reference to its origin.
Although the article demonstrates that this genetic group may have the potential to improve crop quality, it shows that both the extent and health of the wild Arabica population in that country has declined and is at risk of being lost, so urgent measures must be taken to conserve the genetic diversity that is still available.
"We know that the genetic diversity of Arabica coffee is very low, hence the importance of conserving accessions of different origins. Such is the case of this new genetic group that is being discovered in South Africa, where there could eventually be genes of importance for the sustainability of coffee growing in the world. It is necessary to continue researching these genetic resources in order to guarantee their good management and to be aware of the importance of using and conserving all this genetic diversity", said William Solano, researcher in phytogenic resources at CATIE and co-author of the article.
Researcher in Plant Genetic Resources
Coffee and Cocoa Agroforestry and Plant Breeding Unit
Dannia Gamboa Solís
Information Technology and Communication