Computing the Cocoa Genome

chocolateroyThe Mars candy company, the U.S. Agricultural Research Service, and the world’s second-fastest supercomputer, IBM’s Blue Gene, are working to sequence the genome of the cocoa tree. The project will identify cocoa plants that are better able to withstand the effects of global warming, including fungal strains and insects. The same tools might be applied to other food staples. There’s no genomic cure for political unrest, which also threatens the world’s cocoa supply.

[Story tip: Chocolate portrait inspired by Roy Lichtenstein by emilywjones]