New genome sequencing reveals coffee’s future

Upon first glance, the large bushy plant with branches filled with tiny, jasmine-scented flowers appear to be something even the pickiest gardener would welcome.  These pure white flowers are highly fragrant and beautiful, but are a side-effect to the true commodity of this particular plant, the reddish-purple berries that come after the flowers have disappeared.  The deep crimson is not a perfectly ripe cherry, but holds one of the biggest cash crops in the world: the coffee bean.

Coffee plants in the mountains of Mexico

While the beautiful plants promising coffee paint a beautiful picture of serene gardening, the coffee plant is in trouble.  Climate change, viruses, and fungi are all taking a huge financial toll on coffee production, making the recent coffee genome sequencing even more essential to keep this industry percolating.

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Insects and You: An Essential Partnership for Scientific Discovery

Asian camel cricket

Common cricket

Finding a strange insect in your home is usually unwelcome, but what if you could use that discovery to contribute to scientific research? This concept is called “citizen science” and new research from NC State University has citizen scientists play an essential role in looking at the biodiversity of cricket species previously thought non-existent in the eastern United States.
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