Crop Biotech Update

Improved Cacao Reference Genome Secures the Future of Chocolate

July 24, 2019

Scientists from the Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology, with the help of Mars Wrigley Confectionery, have created the newest weapon in the battle to save the world's favorite treat -- chocolate. Cacao crop, the source of this delicacy is under significant threat as pressures mount from ever-increasing consumption, a changing climate, and devastating fungal infections.

The research team has released an updated reference genome for Theobroma cacao, the tree that produces cacao beans. Using advanced long-read sequencers, this new resource is more modern than the first version, which was completed in 2010. With the new reference genome, researchers will be able to guide crossbreeding and hybridization efforts more quickly. Traits such as drought tolerance can be bred into a population faster and disease resistance can be introduced more efficiently.

For more details, read the article at Hudson Alpha.

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