In Sweet Breakthrough, Scientists Led By Makers of M&Ms Sequence the Chocolate Genome

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 - 23:21 in Biology & Nature

In a monumental step for chocolate lovers - ah, let's be honest, the whole of humankind - scientists announced today they have completed a preliminary genome sequence for the cacao tree. OK, maybe it's not that monumental; new genomes are sequenced all the time. But this one is special - cacao is no ordinary plant. Who cares about the corn genome when you can study chocolate instead? The genome sequence, which enters the public domain today, is the result of a partnership among a few unlikely bedfellows: Mars Inc., maker of M&Ms, Milky Way bars and other treats; the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service; and IBM. The trio hopes international agricultural researchers will immediately start refining the sequence. As with any gene mapping project, decoding the complete genome will take some time. The preliminary results will be available via the Cacao Genome Database, to ensure that the data remains perpetually...

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