A comprehensive study has confirmed the genetic structure of African coffee genotypes
The species Coffea canephora, which produces Robusta coffee, has substantial genetic diversity, which could almost certainly be better exploited in breeding programmes if it were characterized better. A team from CIRAD recently analysed that diversity using microsatellite markers. This was the first truly comprehensive genetic study of the species. It confirmed the existence of diversity groups, analysed the relations between them and determined the genetic structure of the species, particularly the role played by refuge zones during the glacial period of 25,000 years ago and the effect of subsequent human interventions. The analysis covered almost 300 coffee genotypes from the Guineo-Congolese region. The results are crucial for the management and use of genetic resource collections, and should serve the eventual development of adapted coffee crop.
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