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.

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 August 1, 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 August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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