CCMB Now Plans To Brew Drought-resistant Coffee

Hyderabad | Updated: Sep 26 2003, 05:30am hrs
There is something brewing in the corridors of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB). A programme for coffee biotechnology or coffee genetics has been designed for developing drought and stress resistant coffee varieties.

The department of biotechnology (DBT) has initiated the network programme called National Programme on Coffee Biotechnology in association with CCMB, Hyderabad, Central Coffee Research Institute (CCRI), Chickmagalur, University of Agricultural Science, Bangalore and Madurai Kamaraj University.

CCMB has been entrusted with the task of developing DNA fingerprinting-based genetic characterisation of selected elite germplasm of coffee and generating basic materials which will act as a prelude to molecular markers-based coffee programme.

Under the guidance of CCMB director Dr Lalji Singh, the network programme funded by DBT has already developed 58 coffee specific microsatellite markers which were validated using Arabica and other species. Besides these two objectives, the programme also focuses on development of framework linkage map for the Robusta variety and creating a database for drought and stress resistant coffee plants.

We have developed a prototype of query-based web-enabled database of coffee that contains the voluminous fingerprinting and sequencing data generated under the project, Dr Ramesh K Agarwal, a senior scientist involved in the project, said. This database will be made available to scientists working on coffee genetics, he said.