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This Week in Science: Sep 5, 2014

In this week's Science, an international team of researchers published the sequenced genome of coffee, giving insights into the evolution of caffeine in plants and providing a resource that may aid in the development of new coffee varieties. The scientists created a draft genome of Coffea canephora, which provides roughly 30 percent of the world's coffee, then compared the data with sequences from grapevine, tomato, and Arabidopsis plants. They identified more than 16,000 genes in these plants that originated from a single gene of a last common ancestor, and uncovered genetic adaptations related to disease resistance and caffeine production, which adapted independently from those in cacao and tea.

Meanwhile, scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported on the use of mass spectrometry techniques to measure how changes in available nutrients in ocean waters affects microbes. They collected water samples along a 2,500-mile stretch of Pacific Ocean, specifically from regions with diverse nutrient concentrations, then used mass spectrometers to distinguish and measure individual proteins produced by microbes depending on the concentration of nutrients. Previously, researchers believed that microbial growth and protein production is controlled by the single scarcest nutrient, but the new data show that multiple scarce nutrients can collectively influence ocean microbial communities.