Sweet Science: SoFla Docs Making Better Chocolate

Experts decode cacao genes in Coral Gables

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    LONDON - SEPTEMBER 27: Bars of confectionary are seen on display in a newsagent on September 27, 2004 in London. Larger sized chocolate snack bars are to be shelved to reduce portion sizes as one of seven pledges in the first Manifesto for Food and Health by the Food and Drink Federation. The document comes ahead of a Department of Health White Paper due in the autumn. (Photo by Bruno Vincent)

    Decoding genomes, DNA testing and examining germplasm all sound like heady stuff, perhaps related to curing cancer or some other deadly disease. But for a group of scientists in Miami, it's all about chocolate.

    Biochemists and plant geneticists in South Florida have been hard at work studying chocolate and where it comes from, in the hopes that decoding the cacao genome might help everyone from farmers to candy bar cravers.

    This Saturday, at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden's International Chocolate Festival in Coral Gables, geneticist Dr. Raymond Schnell will discuss his chocolatey research, according to the Miami Herald.

    Schnell and his group of scientists have been working with the Mars Candy Company for the past ten years to identify specimens of cacao. The hope is that by decoding the genes, it could make it easier to breed better chocolate, which will grow faster and be more resistant to weather and pests.

    Maybe after they figure out the whole chocolate thing, there'll be time for diabetes research.