Scientists have pieced together the genetic code of the cacao tree, and believe the DNA sequence will lead to chocolate that is healthier, more sustainable, and more delicious.
The researchers worked with a variety called Criollo that produces the world's best chocolate. It was domesticated by the Maya people of Central America 3,000 years ago, but is seldom grown in its pure form today.
Cacao farmers now prefer hybrid trees that yield poorer chocolate but are more resistant to disease. The new genome could see a return to the supreme quality chocolate enjoyed by the Maya. The research, from Pennsylvania State University, is published today in the journal Nature Genetics.