Two new DNA discoveries and studies by Mars and Hershey seem to have unlocked the genetic code of chocolate. The sequencing studies could lead to the bioengineering of some delicious chocolate.
A team of French-led scientists believe it has unlocked the genetic code of chocolate. The scientists, steered by French research agency Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), unveiled the DNA of the high-end Criollo variety of Theobroma cacao, which is primarily used to manufacture gourmet chocolates. This marks the first time that a genome study of the cacao tree has been published in an academic journal, according to reports.
CIRAD is designed to help developing countries expand their agricultural industries in a form of French scientific diplomacy. They partnered with scientists in 18 different countries, the United States Department of Agriculture, the University of Reading in Britain and the Biscuit Cake Chocolate & Confectionery Association, a British trade group representing sweets manufacturers in both London and the European Union.
According to a press release for the Theobroma study, unspecified “support” was granted through chocolate manufacturers Hershey Corp. and Valrhona, along with the Venezuelan Ministry of Science, Technology and Industry, among others.
While Theobroma is often used to manufacture gourmet chocolates, that particular cacao tree variety is often vulnerable to disease. Information gleaned from the study could be used to breed bioresistant varieties of Theobroma.
Could Synthetic Chocolate be Made?
January 3, 2011