Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Genome hints at markers for higher-producing, better-tasting chocolate

Date:
June 3, 2013
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
The freshly sequenced genome of the most commonly cultivated cacao plant in the world is revealed in a new study. Researchers have utilized high quality DNA sequences to demonstrate the usefulness and quality of the sequence to identify genetic markers that can lead to higher yielding cocoa plants that still produce better tasting cocoa.

The freshly sequenced genome of the most commonly cultivated cacao plant in the world is revealed in the open access journal Genome Biology this week. Researchers have utilised high quality DNA sequences to demonstrate the usefulness and quality of the sequence to identify genetic markers that can lead to higher yielding cocoa plants that still produce better tasting cocoa.

There are many varieties of the cacao tree (Theobroma cacao L.), but the green podded Costa Rican Matina or Amelonado variety is the most popular because of its high yield and pleasant flavor. In Ecuador, a red podded high yielding variety, CCN 51, is blended with a green podded, better tasting but lower yielding variety. But the adulteration reduces the overall quality of the chocolate, so cacao growers are keen to improve the quality of cacao beans exported from Ecuador.

Juan C Motamayor from Mars Incorporated, and colleagues sequenced the genome of the Matina cacao variety, then used genetic analyses and comparisons with other varieties, to highlight a gene involved in pod colour variation. Zooming further in on the gene sequence, they then identified a single DNA letter change that affected levels of the gene's expression, and so the colour of the pod.

Cacao plant breeders trying to produce a delicious high-yield strain through cross breeding have met with limited success. So the genetic marker could, in theory, be used to screen young seedlings, and highlight desirable plants long before they reach maturity. This would avoid the expense and labour of growing up potential duds, ultimately improving the quality of cacao plants and the chocolate made from them.

Although the genome sequence of the Criollo cacao variety was reported two years ago, it's genetically quite distinct and so a poor representative of the cacao types cultivated worldwide.

Since the publication of the genome sequence, researchers have been working to identify genetic markers that can produce more productive cocoa plants for farmers while still providing consumers with high quality and superior taste. The genome sequence research is a part of an overall effort to use traditional breeding techniques to develop planting materials that farmers can use to be more productive.

Cacao trees are grown throughout the humid tropics in more than 50 countries, and cacao beans, harvested from the plants' pods, are used to produce chocolate as well as in the confectionary and cosmetic industries. Cacao production is essential to the livelihoods of around 45 million people worldwide, and to the happiness and well-being of millions and millions more.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Juan C Motamayor, Keithanne Mockaitis, Jeremy Schmutz, Niina Haiminen, Donald Livingstone, Omar Cornejo, Seth D Findley, Ping Zheng, Filippo Utro, Stefan Royaert, Christopher Saski, Jerry Jenkins, Ram Podicheti, Meixia Zhao, Brian E Scheffler, Joseph C Stack, Frank A Feltus, Guiliana M Mustiga, Freddy Amores, Wilbert Phillips, Jean Philippe Marelli, Gregory D May, Howard Shapiro, Jianxin Ma, Carlos D Bustamante, Raymond J Schnell, Dorrie Main, Don Gilbert, Laxmi Parida, David N Kuhn. The genome sequence of the most widely cultivated cacao type and its use to identify candidate genes regulating pod color. Genome Biology, 2013; 14 (6): R53 DOI: 10.1186/gb-2013-14-6-r53

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "Genome hints at markers for higher-producing, better-tasting chocolate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130602202742.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2013, June 3). Genome hints at markers for higher-producing, better-tasting chocolate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130602202742.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "Genome hints at markers for higher-producing, better-tasting chocolate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130602202742.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
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