Coffee-lovers largely avoid decaffeinated coffee because it seems to defy the point — why drink something that’s not going to increase your alertness and give you that caffeine fix? What’s more, a lot of decaf coffees don’t taste very good because the decaffeination process alters the taste of the beans. Extracting caffeine also removes some of the chemicals that provide benefits, like antioxidants. But there is hope for delicious decaf.

Today in The Conversation Canada, Laurentian University’s Thomas Merritt writes that a naturally occurring genetic mutation already produces coffee trees that grow caffeine-free beans. Using gene-editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas-9, scientists may be able to develop a caffeine-free bean in the lab. In theory, this would produce a brew that would maintain the delicious taste of coffee and all of its benefits, minus the caffeine.

The reason why this hasn’t gained widespread acceptance may have something to do with our aversion to genetically modified organisms. But the desire for a delicious decaf may just change our minds.

Also today:

Best regards,

Nehal El-Hadi

Science + Technology Editor

The quest for a tasty decaf may change the way we think about GMOs. (Shutterstock)

The quest for delicious decaf coffee could change the appetite for GMOs

Thomas Merritt, Laurentian University

Genetically modified organisms can help address current agricultural challenges, but public opinion is against them. Maybe the search for delicious decaf coffee could lead to widespread acceptance.

Rideau Hall, the official residence of Canada’s Governor General, is waiting for its next inhabitant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Julie Payette’s resignation is a chance to reimagine the role of Governor General

Thomas Klassen, York University, Canada

For the first time in Canadian history, the Governor General has resigned. Now is the perfect time to imagine a different kind of head of state for the country.

Proponents of the new laws claim they will help India’s agricultural sector, but small, rural farmers fear losing their livelihoods. AP Photo/Altaf Qadri

India’s farmers are right to protest against agricultural reforms

Sanjay Ruparelia, Ryerson University

New agriculture laws in India could adversely impact the lives of millions of small farmers who struggle with low wages. Farmers are right to protest against laws that jeopardize their livelihoods.

While the development of new molecules is slower and slower, the acquisition of resistance by bacteria is becoming increasingly rapid. (Shutterstock)

The other pandemic: Once-treatable diseases are growing resistant to antibiotics

Martin Chenal, Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)

While the whole world is obsessed by the COVID-19 pandemic, another equally deadly threat is going unnoticed: antibiotic resistance.

Artificial intelligence requires machines, processing power and energy consumption, among other things. Often, we’re unaware of the presence of this infrastructure around us. (Shutterstock)

Hidden in plain sight: The infrastructures that support artificial intelligence

Pascale Lehoux, Université de Montréal; Lysanne Rivard, Université de Montréal

Artificial intelligence is supported by an infrastructure of hardware and software that is growing increasingly present in our lives, yet remains hidden in plain view.

La Conversation Canada

Un tract agrafé à un tableau d'affichagel sur le campus de l'Université Berkeley, en Californie. Il est de plus en plus difficile sur certains campus universitaires d'apporter un point de vue jugé «offensant» ou «dérangeant» par certains étudiants. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

Un préambule pourrait assurer la liberté d’expression en milieu universitaire

Mathieu-Robert Sauvé, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)

Faut-il que les professeurs d’université instaurent un préambule dans leurs plans de cours afin d’assurer la liberté académique ?



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