Photo: marcelgermain (Flickr)
Sign me up for this research project! Scientists, led by Mars Inc., the company that makes M&Ms and other chocolate treats, have announced the rough draft of the cacao tree’s genome.
Why Should We Care?
Even though the research is still in the beginning stages, scientists believe that understanding how the tree works could lead to improvements in the chocolate supply.
Tree species found in countries frequently plagued with drought or disease problems could see some relief. The scientists’ findings might encourage breeding programs that may improve the health of these species.
The tree’s genome could also reveal how to produce healthier and tastier cocoa.
The cacao tree is officially known as Theobroma cacao. Theobroma cacao contains about 420 million DNA units (A, C, G, Ts.)
Scientists hope that they can finish sequencing this tree and other trees like it. All in all, this is a yummy discovery!
- Cacao Tree’s Genetic Secrets May Bolster the Chocolate Supply (Discover)