By Justin Beach, Daily Digest News
Somewhere in the world, 71 cups of coffee are consumed every second of every day for a total of 2.25 billion cups per year. Worldwide the consumption of coffee provides 26 million jobs and $15.4 billion in exports, much of which goes to very poor coffee producing countries.
Those numbers do not even take into account the consumption of tea, chocolate and other caffeinated beverages.
No one is sure, however, exactly why plants such as coffee, tea and cocoa produce caffeine in the first place. New research published in the September 5 edition of the journal Science provides new information, but also produces more mysteries.
“Coffee is as important to everyday early risers as it is to the global economy. Accordingly, a genome sequence could be a significant step toward improving coffee.
By looking at the coffee genome and genes specific to coffee, we were able to draw some conclusions about what makes coffee special,” said Philippe Lashermes, a researcher at the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD), in a statement.
The newly sequenced genome of the coffee plant sheds light on the evolution of caffeine.
Interestingly, the plants which produce caffeine appear to have evolved separately to produce the same chemical. In other words, coffee, tea and cocoa do not appear to share a common caffeine-producing evolutionary ancestor.
A flaming Christmas pudding. © Matt Riggott at Wikipedia