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Candy Companies Compete Over Cacao Genome

Writing in the New York Times' business section, Andrew Pollack describes the "rivalry" between two research teams — each supported by funding from competing major candy companies — that both claim to have completed the sequence of the cacao tree genome. (See our sister publication GenomeWeb Daily News' coverage of the Mars announcement, here.) "The rivalry between the two big chocolate companies' projects in some ways mirrors what occurred in the race to sequence the human genome, between Celera Genomics and the publicly financed Human Genome Project," Pollack writes, though he adds that researchers in both the Mars and Hershey groups "say that cocoa farmers, candy companies, and chocolate lovers will benefit from having two sequences, of different varieties of cacao, that can be compared." Scientific American's coverage of the sequencing race focuses on "the spread of two virulent pathogens that threaten to devastate the world's cocoa crop," and how both teams hope that with the "genome in hand," they'll be better able to determine how to abate the transmission of diseases that affect the bean.

Daily Scan asks: in the race to report the genome partially responsible for Mars Bars and Hershey's Kisses, can anyone really lose?

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