Cacao production areas are set to be pushed thousands of feet uphill into mountainous terrain which is carefully preserved for wildlife by 2050
02 January, 2018, 15:23
Warmer temperatures and drier weather conditions are expected to be the root of the cacao plants' potential disappearance, according to Business Insider.
The scientists have planted rows of tiny cacao seedlings in greenhouses using gene-editing technology CRISPR to assess whether altering the DNA of the seeds will enable them to survive these future climates.
Cacao plants can only grow in the shaded rainforest understory and reach 20 m in height where temperature, rain, and humidity all stay relatively constant throughout the year.
Cacao plants occupy a precarious position on the globe.
And according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration a temperature-rise of just 2.1C over the next 30 years will spell bad news for the plants, and chocolate lovers everywhere.
'All the indicators are that we could be looking at a chocolate deficit of 100,000 tonnes a year in the next few years'.
Farmers in countries such as Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana - which produce more than half of the world's chocolate - now face a decision over whether to move cacao production areas thousands of feet uphill into mountainous terrain which is carefully preserved for wildlife.
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Mars, the $35 billion enterprise best known for Snickers, knows about these issues and others displayed by environmental change.
Its initiative with Cho at UC Berkeley is another arm of that efforts.
"We're endeavoring to bet everything here", Barry Parkin, Mars' central supportability officer, revealed to Business Insider. "There are obviously commitments the world is leaning into but, frankly, we don't think we're getting there fast enough collectively". If all goes as planned, they could develop cacao plants that don't wilt or rot at their current elevations, doing away with the need to relocate farms or find another approach. Despite the fact that her apparatus has gotten more consideration for its capability to annihilate human infections and make alleged "fashioner babies", Doudna figures its most significant applications won't be on people but instead on the food they eat. One of the inventors of CRISPR, Jennifer Doudna, who's overseeing the project, has expressed concern about the implications of her technology and eugenics, but she seems optimistic about longer-lasting tomatoes.
This will in turn make it impossible to produce good crops in many regions around the world by 2050.
Doudna established a company called Caribou Biosciences to incorporate CRISPR, and has additionally authorized the innovation to rural company DuPont Pioneer for use in crops like corn and mushrooms.
Scientists have successfully used CRISPR technology at first, and it will be a key tool in a growing collection of techniques.
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