DNA: Chocolate Nearly Mapped

By Posted 17 Sep 2010, 13:32

We have some good news for chocolate fans, researches led by the McLean candy company Mars is almost done sequencing the genome of the cacao tree.

This tree produces the seeds used to make cocoa the main ingredient in chocolate, and the information will help grow stronger tree’s resistant to disease and easier to grow for millions of farmers.

The company behind Snickers and M&M’s has decided to share the information instead of keeping it secret. Having better tree’s means more chocolate for years to come for everyone. Howard-Yana Shapiro a staff officer of plant science and research at mars said “The information is so rich and so accurate we felt there was no reason to hold back.”

In the US not much cocoa is produced, but companies such as Mars rely so much on it and led to the US Department of Agriculture trying to come up with a better cacao tree since 1999.

Mars in partnership with IBM and the USDA began sequencing the cacao genome in 2008, and Mars put $10 million in to the project. The results have been shared three years ahead of schedule.

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