More tea, vicar?

You may remember an earlier – somewhat facetious – post on a possible threat to tea diversity in China. Now, from CropBiotech Update, there’s a summary of a far from facetious review paper on tea breeding in that country. Turns out that the China National Germplasm Tea Repositories can count on some 3000 tea germplasm accessions, and that over 200 improved varieties have been released. Some quite advanced biotechnological approaches are being used to speed up breeding. One of the things the researchers are looking at is developing cultivars with low or no caffeine, using RNAi. Personally, I think caffeine-free tea and coffee, like alcohol-free beer, are a bit like a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest: useless. But the technology is cool.

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