The buzz on caffeine in coffee: A genetic quirk - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

The buzz on caffeine in coffee: A genetic quirk

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File). FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2013 file photo a row of  brewed coffee is seen in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File). FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2013 file photo a row of brewed coffee is seen in Oakland, Calif.
  • NationalMore>>

  • LA County deputy convicted in corruption case

    LA County deputy convicted in corruption case

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-09-17 01:32:02 GMT
    A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was convicted Tuesday of trying to block a federal investigation of allegations of inmate abuse at county jails.
    A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy was convicted Tuesday of trying to block a federal investigation of allegations of inmate abuse at county jails.
  • Ferguson protesters call anew to remove prosecutor

    Ferguson protesters call anew to remove prosecutor

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:32 PM EDT2014-09-17 01:32:00 GMT
    Protesters seeking the immediate arrest of the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old have disrupted another government meeting.
    Protesters seeking the immediate arrest of the Ferguson police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old disrupted a government meeting Tuesday, renewing calls to remove the county prosecutor investigating the case.
  • Lumber town takes stock after wind-driven wildfire

    Lumber town takes stock after wind-driven wildfire

    Tuesday, September 16 2014 9:22 PM EDT2014-09-17 01:22:24 GMT
    Dan Linville and his son were sitting in their living room when they smelled smoke. When they looked outside, they saw a black cloud coming over the hills.
    They had prepared for wildfires and knew of the drought-parched forests, but the inferno that swirled through the California lumber town of Weed moved so quickly all people could do was flee.
By SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists have woken up and smelled the coffee - and analyzed its DNA.

They found that what we love about coffee - the caffeine - is a genetic quirk, not related to the caffeine in chocolate or tea.

"It's an accident that has been frozen in place very likely by the influence of natural selection," says University of Buffalo evolutionary biologist Victor Albert. He and more than 60 other researchers from around the world mapped out the genetic instruction book of java. Their results were published Thursday in the journal Science.

Albert says researchers discovered that caffeine developed separately in the coffee, tea and chocolate because it is in different genes in different areas of plants' genomes.

But once coffee mutated to have caffeine - not just in the bean, there's even more in the leaves - it turned out to be a good thing for the plant, Albert says. Bugs don't chew on the coffee plant leaves because they don't like the caffeine, but pollinators like bees do.

"So pollinators come back for more - just like we do for our cups of coffee," Albert says, admitting he also likes the buzz.

"It wakes me up every morning," Albert says. "I wouldn't be able to do all this fabulous work on coffee if it weren't for the coffee itself."

University of North Carolina plant genomics professor Jeff Dangl, who wasn't part of the study, notes "natural selection to help coffee plants deter insects turned out so well for us." But he adds, "Unfortunately, coffee is now under epidemic attack by pathogens that are not deterred by caffeine, and we need all the clever genetics and genomics to save it."

The research will be presented next week at the 25th International Conference on Coffee Science in Colombia.

___

Online:

The journal Science: http://www.sciencemag.org

Coffee science conference: http://bit.ly/1A6Sum0

___

Seth Borenstein can be followed at http://twitter.com/borenbears

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.