This week on The Super Awesome Science Show, we tackle one of my favorite subjects…

(Joe, Java, Mud, etc)

But we take a very different look at this beloved beverage. Instead of focusing on how to make the perfect cup, we take a look at a factor that is of utmost importance even if it doesn’t get much attention…

(Genetics)

If you haven’t already subscribed to the SASScast on your favorite podcast platform, you can always listen to it here: https://omny.fm/shows/super-awesome-science-show/sass-ep9-coffee-rough-version-2

I’ve talked about coffee before in the media and on the blog in the context of health as it continues to be a hotly debated topic. Depending on which studies you might read, coffee may be the best thing for you or it could lead to an early death. There seems to be no consensus.

As this episode reveals, genetics may be the reason behind the lack of agreement. It has to do with minor changes in our DNA known as…

(Polymorphisms)

Our first guest is an Assistant Professor at Northwestern University who is a polymorphism expert. Her name is…

(Dr. Marilyn Cornelis)

She’s been studying the links between our genes and the effect of coffee on a variety of different bodily functions. But the reason I wanted to talk to her was that she learned that small changes in our genetic code could lead us to find coffee well…

(You get the idea…)

It’s a fascinating discussion that will open your eyes to what your tongue is telling you and how that could relate to your health.

Another area of the coffee realm upon which people cannot agree is which coffee is best. There are dozens of different types from all over the world and each one has its own taste.

While climate and soil are important for a particular coffee’s taste, there is one contributor few discuss…

(Yeast…)

That’s right. Before your coffee bean reaches store shelves, it is fermented. I explain the process on the program and reveal that the yeasts used to give coffee its flavour are as diverse as the coffees themselves.

How this great diversity occurred is a rather fascinating tale that can be traced through history using genetics and my next guest has examined this with incredible depth. She’s an Investigator with the Pacific Northwest Research Institute and a yeast genetics expert. She is…

(Dr. Aimee Dudley)

Her account of what has happened to coffee over the generations as a result of her studies in yeast will captivate you as well as make you realize how much coffee has been a part of our civilization.

For our SASS Class, I wanted to take a look at how genetics may be useful in helping us to sustain our coffee addictions. Although you may not know it, coffee plants are in trouble as a result of a nasty enemy…

(Coffee Leaf Rust)

It’s a fungus that slowly destroys the plant making it difficult to produce fruit. The fungus has been causing serious damage in some regions of the world and may spread to affect regions you value the most. To discuss how genetics – and ecology – can help to stop the spread of this disease, I reached out to University of Michigan Professor…

(Dr. John Vandermeer)

He’s been studying the fungus and its impact on the coffee plant. We learn how bad it has gotten and how different strategies including genetics may offer some hope for a better future.

I hope you enjoy this caffeinated episode of the Super Awesome Science Show. If you do, please subscribe on your favorite podcast platform. We’re on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and pretty much every other platform.

Also, if you happen to have a podcast, can you head over to the Canadian Podcast Awards website and give our little show a boost by voting for us here…

(Link: https://awards.podcamptoronto.com/)

If you have a question, comment or idea for the show, let me know in the comments below or by sending me an Email at: thegermguy@gmail.com. Your Emails have been awesome and I look forward to hearing from you about how you are showin’ some SASS.

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