• 26-JUN-2008

USDA, Mars and IBM to Unearth Cocoa Genetics

The entire cocoa genome is being sequenced and analyzed as part of a project to help create stronger, healthier cocoa crops. Cocoa is the key ingredient in chocolate. Through the collaboration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), IBM and the world's largest chocolate company Mars, scientists hope to increase the crop's yield, as well as pest and disease resistance and increased water and nutrient use efficiency. While cocoa is not grown in the U.S., IBM reports for every dollar of cocoa imported, between one and two dollars of domestic agricultural products (like corn and wheat) are used in the making of chocolate products. This is the first time all three entities, USDA-ARS, IBM and Mars, have collaborated on a crop-related project.