Genomes Evolution of Coffee Trees

Research focuses

The EvoGeC team, for the UMR DIADE component, is composed around four permanent staff from IRDP. It also develops numerous national and international collaborations. Two Ph.D. students, a French from the University of Montpellier, and a Brazilian of UNESP, are currently in training.

The activities of the EvoGeC team (Genomes Evolution of Coffee Trees) are centered on the Coffea genus and the Rubiaceae family. Three projects are conducted within international consortia. These are:

  • to establish a resolved molecular phylogeny of the genus Coffea,
  • to understand the evolution of genomes of some key species via the Genome13 project 
  • to establish and analyze, with the Nestlé R&D collaboration, the genome sequence of C. arabica, the most cultivated species.

In addition, a project funded by the European Community in particular and the Region Reunion aims at the realization of a database of wild coffee tree species put into a collection at the island of Reunion, for the African species , and Madagascar, with the FOFIFA, for endemic Malagasy species.

Illustration p1 1

In Africa, Ivory Coast is one of the southern coutries with which the team is developing two research activities. EvoGec and the AMAP UMR are involved in a “Young Team Associated” with the IRD (JEAI MODELCAF), led by the University Jean Lorougnon Guede (Daloa). Furthermore, the team coordinates with the IPME UMR, a project for the development and structuration of bio-informatics in Abidjan. The goal is to develop a technical platform but also to train scientists. This operation is funded by the Agropolis Foundation. Research actions are carried out jointly with other countries such as the tripartite project "Uganda-Brazil-France", funded by the Agropolis Foundation, EMBRAPA and CAPES. This project ClimCoffea, aims to conduct a detailed analysis of the relationships between climate change and genetic variability of the cultivated species C. canephora. This work is conducted in association with the Dynadiv team of the DIADE UMR.

Promotion activities, at various levels, are also conducted around the coffee trees. Two documentaries were produced by the audiovisual department of the IRD, with cofinancing of the PPR PAREGO around the theme of the patrimonialization of coffee trees biological resources in Madagascar and Reunion. A patent was filed, along with GEVES, on molecular traceability of varieties of cultivated coffee trees, its optimization is performed in association with the GEVES. The team also coordinates the publication of a summary work entitled “The coffee plant genome”. This book is to be published early 2016 by Springer. It will review the scientific contributions brought by the genome sequencing of the two cultivated species of coffee trees.

Beyond the activities strictly related to coffee, the team coordinates doctoral mentoring, via a cohort of 40 students from North, West and Central Africa. This coordination is under the aegis of the AUF. Finally, a book for the general public entitled "The extraordinary story of plant " is being edited by the IRD.

Permanent staff

  • Hamon Perla, head, DR2/IRD, Montpellier
  • Couturon Emmanuel, AI/IRD, Montpellier
  • de Kochko Alexandre, DR2/IRD, Montpellier
  • Hamon Serge, DRCE/IRD, Montpellier

Non-permanent staff