o The Frog Blog: Chocolate & Strawberry Genomes Mapped

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Chocolate & Strawberry Genomes Mapped


Strawberries and chocolate, the ultimate combination, and now the topic of the latest story in the world of science. A group of researchers in the US have mapped the genomes (genetic make-up) of the wild strawberry and that of the cacao tree (whose beans are used to make chocolate). The researchers believe that their findings could lead to the development of a generation of “super strawberries” that resist pests, smell better, tolerates heat, requires less fertilizer, has a longer shelf life, tastes better and has an improved appearance. The wild strawberry is closely related to other fruits like peaches, apples and raspberries, the genetic map may also help breeders of these crops to produce new varieties. As for the cacao tree, the team of researchers don't think that their results will change the flavour of chocolate but think that the research could provide information for greater protection from diseases and improved productivity. Another benefit of the genetic work could be better livelihoods for millions of cocoa farmers. Hopefully it will lead to tastier treats too!

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