Do we love chocolate enough to turn to GMOs?

taza chocolates x

GMOs may be able to save chocolate. The bigger question is whether we want them to.

Chocolate–the scrumptious confection of Valentine boxes and Easter baskets–is in trouble. A chocolate shortage, to the tune of one million metric tons, is predicted to hit within the next five years, the result of climate change, disease, and the demands of rapidly growing populations of chocolate lovers in China and India.

The Nature Conservation Research Center based in Ghana–the world’s second-largest producer of chocolate after the Ivory Coast–predicts glumly that within the next 20 years, chocolate will be as rare and as expensive as caviar.

Chocolate comes from the seeds of the cacao tree, is a delicious and addictive treat paired with a plant that is tricky, if not downright impossible, to grow.

Cacao only grows in a belt 20 degrees north or south of the Equator, nicknamed the “20/20 zone.” Along with its geographical limitations, cacao is stunningly susceptible to disease. Cacao trees are also painfully slow growers.

Some researchers point out that creating an ideal GMO chocolate isn’t going to be easy. Chocolate is a mind-bogglingly complex food, containing some 600 different flavor components. (Even red wine boasts a mere 200.) Cobbling together the right mix of flavors–along with disease-resistance, a rapid growth rate, and high productivity–may prove to be an heroic task.

Still, given increasing world demand and the cacao tree’s environmentally dicey future, it may be our best chance to save chocolate as we all know and love it.

Read full original article: Can GMOs Save Chocolate?

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend