Saving the future of chocolate with genetics


In California, University of Berkeley researchers are working with candy company, Mars, to ensure chocolate doesn’t go extinct in the next 40 years. Scientists estimate that climate change threatens the cacao plant’s favorite growing sites potentially driving it to extinction rather soon. UC Berkeley scientists are using CRISPR, the gene-editing tool, to grow cacao plant seedlings that have had their genes changed slightly to better withstand new climate change conditions.

Jennifer Doudna, the UC Berkeley geneticist who invented CRISPR, is overseeing the collaboration. Doudna told Business Insider that her invention’s most profound applications won’t be on humans but rather on the food they eat. Mars is involved as part of the company’s $1 billion commitment to reducing its carbon footprint.