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A partnership led by illycaffè and Lavazza has released the first fully open-access Arabica coffee genome.

This is the first time that the raw data for the Coffea arabica genome has been made publicly accessible.

The open-access data files can be downloaded by researchers anywhere in the world on the World Coffee Research website (worldcoffeeresearch.org/genome). Tools to enable browsing of the genome will be released in the weeks ahead.

The announcement follows an earlier one in March 2014 regarding the first sequencing of the genome.

illycaffè and Lavazza, together with Istituto di Genomica Applicata, IGA Technology Services, DNA Analytica, and the universities of Trieste, Udine, Padova, and Verona, undertook the work, which they hope will accelerate scientific efforts to ensure the future of coffee production.

“The genome research is not only a brilliant example of public-private sector collaboration,” said Andrea Illy, Chairman of illycaffè, “it is also an important step to support coffee growers around the world, who are facing up to the effects of climate change.”

Giuseppe Lavazza, Lavazza’s Vice Chairman, said “Sequencing the coffee genome gives us the ability to ‘read’ the plant and precisely identify its origins and determine the genes that give it resistance to diseases. This could result in superior quality coffee.”

Tim Schilling, CEO of World Coffee Research, said “We are thrilled to be able to convey this Arabica genome to the global coffee and research community freely and openly. Advanced genetic research is essential to coffee’s future as a sustainable crop, and to exploring the thrilling diversity of flavours found in coffee.

“Having access to a whole sequenced genome is an essential precursor to unlocking the potential of genetics research to transform coffee production. Utilizing advancements in DNA science for the benefit of coffee producers around the world is the reason that a collaborative industry research non-profit like World Coffee Research exists. Our scientists are looking forward to working with other organizations, countries and governments to make use of the treasures within this genome to make coffee more profitable to farmers and better tasting for consumers”.

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