Scientists Say Chocolate May Be Extinct By 2050

Scientists Say Chocolate May Be Extinct By 2050

The average consumer eats 286 bars of chocolate a year (it's not often we can be smugly "above average".), but in order to produce that number, ten cacao trees must be planted.

But before you start hoarding Hershey Kisses for a future black-market scheme, know that scientists at University of California Berkeley are actively working to prevent worldwide sadness by teaming up with Mars (the makers of Snickers, M&Ms, Twix, etc.) to find a cure. New technology, known as CRISPR, is being used by UC Berkeley scientists to modify the DNA of the plants.

Tiny, green cacao seedlings are being kept in refrigerated greenhouses with the hope they can thrive in dryer, warmer climates.

One such undertaking intends to ensure cassava - a key product that keeps a huge number of individuals from starving every year - from environmental change by tweaking its DNA to create to a lesser extent an unsafe poison that it makes in more sultry temperatures. Different strains of cacao lack the genetic variety to bolster the plants' resistance to such maladies as witches' broom, frosty pod rot, cocoa pod borer and cocoa swollen shoot.

According to the Daily Mail, the trees can only grow 20 degrees north and south of the equator, under very specific climate conditions and therefore the predicted temperature rise of just two degrees is expected to complete wreak havoc with their ability to grow. Typically, more than half of the world's chocolate comes from Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia.

But those areas won't be suitable for chocolate in the next few decades.

Mars, Incorporated is well aware of these problems and other related issues that climate change poses.

"We're endeavoring to bet everything here", Barry Parkin, Mars' central supportability officer, revealed to Business Insider.

Its initiative with Cho at UC Berkeley is another arm of that efforts.

Berkeley's gene-editing technology, called CRISPR, has been in the works for a while, though when it gets attention, it's nearly always for the potential to eliminate genetic diseases or (sort of on the extreme end of this) build "designer babies". Although her tool has received more attention for its potential to eradicate human diseases and make so-called "designer babies", Doudna thinks its most profound applications won't be on humans but rather on the food they eat.

"Personally, I'd love a tomato plant with fruit that stayed on the vine longer", Doudna told Business Insider.

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