The buzz on caffeine in coffee: A genetic quirk

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scientists have woken up and smelled the coffee -- and analyzed its DNA.

They found that what we love about coffee -- the caffeine -- is a genetic quirk, not related to the caffeine in chocolate or tea.

University of Buffalo biologist Victor Albert called caffeine in coffee an evolutionary accident that benefits humans. He and more than 60 other international researchers mapped out genetic instruction book of java. Their results are published Thursday in the journal Science.

Albert says researchers discovered caffeine developed separately in the coffee, tea and chocolate because it is in different genes in different areas of plants' genomes.

He figures the chance mutation of caffeine turned out to be a positive. It keeps bugs away but attracts pollinators -- and people.



 
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