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Newly Published Data in Nature Genetics Details Sequencing of Chocolate Genome

December 27, 2010

Researchers from Penn State University and the French agricultural research and development organization CIRAD have sequenced the complete genome of a Criollo strain of Theobroma Cacao and recently published the research in the journal Nature Genetics. Mark Guiltinan, Director of Plant Genomics at Cacao Biotechnologies and cacao research team leader at Penn State, has already identified hundreds of genes potentially involved in pathogen resistance and even health benefits, all of which can be used to accelerate the development of, and insure the future thriving of elite varieties of cacao.

Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) December 26, 2010

The genome of the Theobroma Cacao tree (Latin for “food of the Gods”), which supplies the world with one of its favorite confections ““ Chocolate ““ has been sequenced.

Researchers from Penn State University and the French agricultural research and development organization CIRAD have sequenced the complete genome of a Criollo strain of Theobroma Cacao and recently published the research in the journal Nature Genetics.

Mark Guiltinan, Director of Plant Genomics at Cacao Biotechnologies and cacao research team leader at Penn State, has already identified hundreds of genes potentially involved in pathogen resistance and even health benefits, all of which can be used to accelerate the development of, and insure the future thriving of elite varieties of cacao.

The world class team of researchers includes scientists from Penn State, in collaboration with the International Cacao Genome Sequencing Consortium (ICGS). The consortium is comprised of scientists from 20 different institutions in 6 countries, and led by Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement in Montpellier France and was funded by a combination of government and industry funds from France, the United States and Venezuela.

Consumers have shown an increased interest for fine quality dark chocolate – made with a high percentage of cocoa ““ which has been touted for its health benefits. At the same time, consumers are particularly interested in products that are produced using socially responsible and sustainable methods.

The Theobroma Cacao comes in three general varieties: Criollo (pronounced cree-yo-joe), Forastero, and Trinitario. Criollo grows mainly in Central America and represents only about 1% of the world’s production. The remaining 99% of the cacao used to produce the world’s chocolate is split between Forastero, grown largely in West Africa and South America, which has a strong, bitter taste and Trinitario, a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero which contains better organoleptic qualities and is grown throughout the world.

Crioillo is the original chocolate cultivated by ancient Mesoamericans: the Maya, Toltecs and the Aztecs, and represents the finest and now rarest of chocolate due to widespread cultivation of high-yield Trinitario strains and Criollo’s high susceptibility to disease, which has rendered it nearly extinct. It is hoped that this research effort will bring about a renewed life for this prized chocolate.

For more information please visit: http://www.nature.com.

Or contact Daniel Preston at Cacao Biotechnologies, dpreston(at)cacaobiotech(dot)com, http://www.cacaobiotech.com

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For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2010/12/prweb4926054.htm


Source: prweb



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