Chocolates save us from many things, especially the emotional woes. They comfort us in the times of trouble, calming down a racing heart by channelling happy calories inside us. We all have faith in chocolates to delight us in a jiffy!
Recently, chocolate lovers were heartbroken as scientists claimed that chocolates can become extinct by 2050! But hey, we have some happy news for you. Scientists can still help save chocolates from extinction! Come on, smile already!
If you are not aware as to why scientists made the statement about the extinction of this wonderful thing, let us tell you the fact. Cacao trees, whose seeds are used to make chocolate, grow in the tropical plant world and require very specific weather conditions to prosper. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), cacao can only grow within 20 degrees of the equator, north or south.
Now, fifty per cent of the world’s cocoa beans come from two countries in West Africa: Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Scientists believe that both of these countries will experience a 3.8°F temperature increase by 2050 due to global warming, jeopardising the cacao farms in the rainforests. These farms will then have to be shifted to cooler mountainous areas, which are the natural habitat of the wildlife. This will lead to some tough decisions: whether to grow chocolate or save wildlife.
Unfortunately, the crisis of global warming has already taken its toll on cacao farms and the prices of chocolates have started to skyrocket.
The scientists, however, have put their best foot forward to find out a long-term and eco-friendly solution to this problem! A group of scientists from the University of California Berkeley have joined hands with the Mars Company (famous for M&M and Snickers) to preserve the cacao crops in an innovative way using technology. They will modify the species with a gene-editing technology, which will transform the seedlings into a species that survives even in a more dehydrated and warmer climate. Read more about the project here.
According to a report by The Business Insider, in the University of California’s new bio-sciences building, tiny green cacao seedlings are lined up in refrigerated greenhouses for a new experiment by using a technology called CRISPR. By manipulating the DNA of plants, this technology is already being used across the world to make plants resilient and cheaper. Similarly, in this unconventional experiment, scientists will make tiny, precise tweaks to DNA of the seedlings to make the cocoa crops survive in warmer and drier climates.
The research is being led by Myeong-Je Cho, the director of Plant Genomics at the University of California Berkeley. He is keeping a weather eye on the proceedings of CRISPR and its impact on the cacao seedlings. Scientists believe that CRISPR, the gene-editing technology, is highly potent in saving the cacao trees from extinction.
Scientists are working to save cacao trees and we can’t thank them enough for their honest efforts. We can’t imagine a world without chocolates and really wish that the experiment is a success. Keeping fingers crossed here!
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