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A taste of the chocolate genome

Competing teams announce impending completion of cacao DNA sequence

The genetic blueprint of the chocolate tree is at hand, but not quite in mouth.

Two independent teams have completed drafts of the DNA sequence of the cacao tree, the source of chocolate, scientists announced September 15. Both efforts will eventually help breed plants that resist disease yet still bear superior beans, the researchers claim.

Neither group has published results in a scientific journal, so it’s difficult to discern what’s been discovered. Both teams assert that their data are as rich as a slab of Belgium’s finest dark. But what’s been released publicly may be more like a watery cup of hot cocoa.

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