Unraveling the Cocoa Genome

Unraveling the Cocoa Genome

In 2010, Mars, IBM and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) completed a two-year effort to sequence and annotate the cocoa genome.

By analyzing the DNA of hundreds of cocoa trees in South America, Mars’ scientists identified 10 distinct structure groups of the tree and their exact origins.

To allow scientists to apply this knowledge for the benefit of cocoa growers, the genome findings have been shared through the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA) and the Cacao Genome Database. The gene sequences will not be patented.

The partnership blends our cocoa expertise with the USDA Agricultural Research Service’s experience with other crops and IBM’s technology, demonstrating the role business can play in addressing global issues. Our research has identified more than 35,000 unique genes within the cocoa genome.

The research will lead to quicker, more accurate breeding and allow farmers to plant better-quality cocoa that is healthier, stronger, highly productive and more resistant to pests and other threats.

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