Chocolates To Become Extinct In the Next 40 Years: Study
Be it New Year, Christmas, Diwali or Raksha Bandhan, chocolates have become an intrinsic part of the celebrations. Gifting a box of chocolates to loved ones is one of the most preferred gifting options. Even otherwise, chocolates have taken the place of deserts in most homes. Plus, who doesn’t love curling up with a book in one hand and chocolate in another. But all this seems unlikely to happen 40 years from now. Why? Because chocolates could go extinct! According to scientists at the University of California, the Cacao plant is likely to disappear by 2050 owing to warmer temperatures and more arid weather conditions.
The scientists who worked on this study are teaming up with Mars company in order to try and save the crop from extinction. Mars, best known for its ‘Snickers’ brand, had pledged $1 billion in September 2017 towards reducing the carbon footprint of its business and supply chain by more than 60 percent by 2050. The possibility of using a gene-editing technology called CRISPR to make crops that survive the new weather challenges is being explored by researchers. An article published in The Independent reveals that Myeong-Je Cho, the director of plant genomics at an institute that is working closely with Mars, is trying to create a more resistant version of cacao plants that will survive in dryer and warmer climates. This, he believes, is possible with the help of CRISPR technology, which allows for tiny tweaks in the DNA, thereby making the crops cheaper and more reliable.
Typically, cacao plants can be grown only within a narrow strip of rainforested land that is 20 degrees north and south of the equator. In this region, temperature, rain, and humidity remain more or less constant throughout the year, and more than half of the world’s chocolate comes from just two in countries West Africa – Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. However, those regions would not be suitable for growing chocolate in the next few decades. The study finds that rising temperatures will push today’s chocolate-growing regions more than 1,000 feet uphill into mountainous terrain. Much of this terrain is currently preserved for wildlife, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.