Here's an excerpt from The Independent:
Scientists have sequenced the genetic code of the cocoa tree, which they say could triple the yield of the disease-prone crop and transform the lives of millions of poor farmers in Africa and around the developing world who rely on it for their livelihood.See also The Cacao Genome Database where Mars and others have published the results of their sequencing of the cacao genome. Best enjoyed while sipping hot chocolate. You'll need a big cup.
The US chocolate firm Mars, working with the computer firm IBM and the US Department of Agriculture, took two years and two months to unlock the genetic code of the tree, Theobroma cacao ("food of the gods").
Instead of patenting the genome, they have placed it online for anyone to use for free. They say that its discovery will allow breeders who use traditional methods to grow hardier, more productive and disease-resistant trees
Other reading on related topics:
- "Tycoon [Craig Venter] seeks patent for 'minimal genome' " - New Scientist
- "Gene Patents" - Wikipedia
- "Here Comes SuperCacao: Mars, Inc. Sequences the Cacao Genome" - FastCompany