Thursday, 17 July 2008

Sequencing the cocoa genome

The United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), Mars, Incorporated, and IBM are combining their scientific resources to sequence and analyze the entire cocoa genome.

Sequencing the cocoa genome is a significant scientific step that will allow more directed breeding of cocoa plants and perhaps even enhance the quality of cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate.

The collaboration will enable farmers to plant better quality cocoa and, more importantly, help create healthier, stronger cocoa crops with higher yields, pest and disease resistance, and increased water and nutrient use efficiency. These crops will help protect an important social, economic and environmental driver in Africa, where 70 percent of the world's cocoa is produced. Additionally, the research results will be freely available to anyone through the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA), which supports agricultural innovation for both humanitarian and small-scale commercial purposes.

Washington Post 26/06 Unwrapping the Chocolate Genome