How Bats are Stirring Up the Tequila's Genetic Diversity

UNAM's study unveils a game-changing strategy: Let Agave tequilana flower and seed to bolster its defense against diseases. Bats, nature's unsuspecting allies, journey vast distances, pollinating agaves, and emphasizing the irreplaceable power of biodiversity.

How Bats are Stirring Up the Tequila's Genetic Diversity
A bat gracefully flits over a field of Agave tequilana, playing its vital role in the pollination.

In a groundbreaking revelation from UNAM's study, a promising strategy to enhance the genetic resilience of the Agave tequilana (A. tequilana) has been discovered. By simply allowing these plants to flower, seed, and regenerate, there emerges a line of agave more adept at fending off diseases – an especially crucial attribute in an era characterized by the unpredictable consequences of climate change.

Rodrigo Antonio Medellín Legorreta and Luis Enrique Eguiarte Fruns, esteemed researchers at UNAM's Institute of Ecology (IE), elaborate that genetic diversity acts as a lifeline for species, furnishing them with the requisite adaptability to ever-evolving environmental circumstances. As Medellín Legorreta succinctly puts it, within a span of one to three generations, agaves can recapture their genetic diversity, with bats playing a pivotal role in the process. These nocturnal creatures, capable of traversing 100 kilometers from their roosting sites, inadvertently pollinate agaves along their nightly routes.