Thursday June 13, 2024

World's most 'popular' drink born from mating of 2 plants 1 million years ago

Mating of two plants give rise to most "popular" drink 1 million years ago

By Web Desk
May 01, 2024
1-million-year-old plant mating give birth to worlds most popular drink. — Unsplash/File
1-million-year-old plant mating give birth to world's most "popular" drink. — Unsplash/File

Scientists have found that two different kinds of coffee species cross-pollinated in Ethiopian woodlands 600,000–1 million years ago, giving rise to the plants that produce the majority of the world's coffee.

Approximately 60% of the world's coffee comes from Coffea arabica plants, which are currently found in tropical climates all over the world. New findings have indicated when and where the first C arabica plants most likely originated; they were published in the journal Nature Genetics on April 15.

The scientists discovered that C arabica originated via natural hybridisation between C eugenioides and C canephora, two other coffee species, using population genomic modeling techniques.

Because of the hybridisation process, each offspring has two sets of chromosomes from each parent, resulting in a polyploid genome. It's possible that this provided C arabica with a survival edge that allowed it to flourish and adapt.

"It's often argued that a hybrid polyploidy event can give an immediate evolutionary advantage given that two sets of chromosomes — and therefore two complete sets of genes — are inherited immediately after," study co-author Victor Albert, a biologist at the State University of New York at Buffalo, told Live Science. "Of course, it's always the case that duplicate genes are lost on the two genome halves of the polyploid, but there is always a net gain in gene numbers and therefore, possibly, a greater capacity to adapt to new environments."