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All Because of a Cup of Qahwah


Coffee is one of the most valued agricultural commodities in the world. Due to its rising popularity, demand for coffee seeds has rapidly increased, leading to the cultivation of the crop in various countries. Among the Coffea species, Coffea arabica L. is the most prized, grown and cultivated worldwide. Previously, scientists have relied on historical evidence to trace the Ethiopian origin of C. arabica; today, genetic tools can be employed to determine a more precise region of origin. Genetic markers such as microsatellites or simple sequence repeats (SSR) are particularly useful in determining the genetic distance between individuals or populations, an important piece of information that can eventually be used to trace back the evolution of an individual or species. To assess polymorphism between modern day cultivars and wild C. arabica accessions, amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis and SSRs have been used. In addition to confirming the Ethiopian origin of C. arabica, AFLP results have narrowed the crop’s center of origin to southwestern Ethiopia. Although southwestern Ethiopia may be the center of origin of C. arabica, it is not necessarily the center of dispersal for cultivated C. arabica. Rather, evidences at all levels, including linguistic and archaeological evidence, point to Yemen as the source of cultivated C. arabica produced worldwide.

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