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Cocao flowers starting to blossom. Cocoa beans come later in large fruit-like pods containing around 30 to 60 seeds.  (Source: Mark Guiltinan, Penn State)
Could chocolate actually get any closer to ambrosia?

Many DailyTech readers may not be familiar with the name Criollo, but most chocolatiers would know it well. The name is associated with many Spanish and South American things, but in this case, it's the common name for a species of Theobroma cacao, and one of the finest cocoa tree strains in the world. Having been domesticated by the Mayans some three thousand years ago, the Criollo cocoa beans produce some of the best chocolate known to mankind.

Thanks to the marvels of modern science and a team of researchers from twenty-odd institutions around the world, the Theobroma cacao plant genome has now been sequenced. Understanding which of the thirty three thousand-plus genes control disease resistance, flavonoid production, oil production and terpene biosynthesis may allow scientists and horticulturists to produce even finer cocoa beans by genetically engineering plants with custom output settings. A mere eighty four of the more than twenty eight thousand protein expressing genes control the quality of cocoa butter, which is an important ingredient in everything from confectionary to cosmetics.

It remains to be seen what kind of fracas may come from the world of genetically modified chocolate. 
DailyTech readers may be familiar with the antics of Monsanto, who is taking the farming world by more of a slogging, angry thud than a bang of any sort. But Criollo beans come from a village in Venezuela by the name of Chuao. Simple plantation farms turn a profit of about two dollars per day, with finer beans like Criollo bringing in more. With the large stock of mature plantation trees and relatively low profit for farmers, it seems hard to believe these high quality grows will see genetic engineering in our lifetimes.

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Lots of engineering
By wordsworm on 12/27/2010 9:22:45 AM , Rating: 2
I have nothing against engineering biology. I'm just wondering when all this finesse will be able to help me engineer my own children. Why can't they help prospective parents engineer a child that can also resist disease, and that can have certain genetic dispositions that would create a superior human, or superman in the vernacular of Nietzsche?

That aside, most chocolate tastes like wax to me.

RE: Lots of engineering
By aegisofrime on 12/27/2010 9:53:26 AM , Rating: 2
Because then you would have a class of these superior humans, and a class of "inferior" humans because they and their parents are unable to afford the genetic modification. One of these two classes will want to kill the other.

I'm all for improving the human race, but issues like these have to be carefully worked out beforehand.

RE: Lots of engineering
By Motoman on 12/27/2010 12:26:13 PM , Rating: 5

RE: Lots of engineering
By bupkus on 12/27/2010 9:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
Why can't they help prospective parents engineer a child that can also resist disease, and that can have certain genetic dispositions that would create a superior human, or superman in the vernacular of Nietzsche?

No problem... let me introduce you to brilliant researcher- Dr. Frankenstein. Oh, sorry... that's pronounced Fronkensteen.

That aside, how about trying some good dark chocolate like the Eurotrash enjoy? Last week I bought some dark chocolate truffles made in France. Man were they good!

RE: Lots of engineering
By SilthDraeth on 12/27/2010 11:27:46 AM , Rating: 2
Most chocolate in America is messed up.

You should be able to find an 85% Dark Chocolate bar from Lindt at your local supermarket. It is chocolate, cocoa butter, and sugar I believe.

Thats all that is in it. Definitely worth it over a Hersheys, Hersheys original invention was to add an emulsifier that made the milk not go bad so quickly, and everyone tries to copy it.

RE: Lots of engineering
By dflynchimp on 12/27/2010 12:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
The movie "GATTACA" comes to mind.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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