Gene-edited cacao plants could save the chocolate industry

Cocoa Beans and Cocoa Powder with Chocolate Bars on White Background.


IMAGINE a world without chocolate? Put melting ice cap aside for a while, chocolates may melt away from your hands and its very existence. While this seems extreme, devastating effect of climate change should not be undermined. Climate change threatens the survival of cacao plants in West Africa and the rest of the world. Racing against a global scale of chocolate meltdown, scientists from University of California’s Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI) is engineering a genetic fix using CRISPR. At the same time, chocolate makers are pledging for more sustainable supply chain to reduce carbon footprint.

To put a global perspective, over half of the global cacao supply originates from two West African countries – Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. This is not a surprising geo-distribution for a tropical plant such as cacao.

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The Petri Dish is malaysia’s first dedicated science newspaper. Through The Petri Dish we aim to engage the public on the latest developments on biotechnology.