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DNA changes to reduce caffeine fix

24-Jun-2003

As the debate hots up over genetically modified foodstuffs, a report published in the latest issue of Nature suggests that, thanks to the tinkering of genes, decaffeinated coffee could be grown on bushes.

Researchers at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology in Japan have used a technique called RNA interference to reduce the activity of key caffeine-making genes in coffee plants.

Their investigations produced a reduction in caffeine content by up to a massive 70 per cent.

As the popularity of decaffeinated coffee increases, the Japanese findings could hail substantial savings for manufacturers that currently use expensive industrial processes to reduce caffeine content.

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