Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sequencing The Cacao Genome To Safeguard Chocolate

Date:
June 26, 2008
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
During the past 15 years, the global cocoa industry has confronted a trio of devastating fungal diseases that cost growers an estimated $700 million in losses annually. Now scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Subtropical Horticultural Research Station (SHRS) in Miami, Fla., are developing productive cacao (Theobroma cacao) trees resistant to these diseases: witches' broom, frosty pod and black pod.

Cocoa beans in a cacao pod.
Credit: Photo by Keith Weller

During the past 15 years, the global cocoa industry has confronted a trio of devastating fungal diseases that cost growers an estimated $700 million in losses annually. Now scientists at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Subtropical Horticultural Research Station (SHRS) in Miami, Fla., are developing productive cacao (Theobroma cacao) trees resistant to these diseases: witches' broom, frosty pod and black pod.

Related Articles


The research has been based upon traditional varietal selection and breeding, enhanced by the use of molecular (DNA-derived) markers associated with disease resistance.

Field trials involving foreign cooperators are under way in South America, West Africa, Central America and Papua New Guinea to evaluate potential disease-resistant cocoa trees. Several of these tree selections were based upon disease-tolerance genes discovered in Miami.

Since 1999, ARS researchers at the SHRS, led by plant geneticist Ray Schnell, have worked in partnership with Mars Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer of chocolate-related products, to apply modern molecular genetic techniques to cocoa production.

This research, in collaboration with institutes in the Americas and Africa, has produced genetic linkage maps for cacao populations, segregating for resistance to the three fungal diseases. Today a new partnership was announced between ARS, Mars Inc., and IBM with the goal of sequencing the entire cacao genome. Once completed, the research results will be released into the public domain.

The partnership to sequence the cacao genome is financially backed and coordinated by Mars Inc. of McLean, Va. Scientific support is provided by SHRS in Miami, in collaboration with scientists at IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. The IBM team will use its Blue Gene supercomputer to analyze the cocoa genome. This is the first time that all three research groups are collaborating.

In addition to the three major partners, Washington State University will assist Schnell in developing detailed genetic maps and assembling the sequence fragments into the complete genome sequence.

ARS is a scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. The original article was written by Alfredo Flores. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Sequencing The Cacao Genome To Safeguard Chocolate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080626102618.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2008, June 26). Sequencing The Cacao Genome To Safeguard Chocolate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080626102618.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Sequencing The Cacao Genome To Safeguard Chocolate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080626102618.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins