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For Valentine's Chocolate of the Future

Cacao plants may go extinct by 2050 due to a confluence of demand, disease, and climate change, Business Insider reports, but farmers and some chocolate companies are exploring using genetically engineered cacao to continue to meet demand.

According to Business Insider, the farmers' group A Fresh Look just released a line of chocolate bars, called Ethos Bars, aimed at getting people to reconsider the use of genetically modified organisms. While it notes those bars don't contain modified cacao, they do include sugar from modified beets. But by eventually modifying cacao, Business Insider says plants that are drought and disease resistant could be developed.

It notes that while some chocolate companies have pledged to be GMO-free, Mars is working with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, to use CRISPR to make cacao that's resistant to rot and wilt.

The Scan

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.

Study Examines Relationship Between Cellular Metabolism, DNA Damage Repair

A new study in Molecular Systems Biology finds that an antioxidant enzyme shifts from mitochondria to the nucleus as part of the DNA damage response.

Stem Cell Systems Target Metastatic Melanoma in Mouse Model

Researchers in Science Translational Medicine describe a pair of stem cell systems aimed at boosting immune responses against metastatic melanoma in the brain.

Open Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas Team Introduces Genomic Data Collection, Analytical Tools

A study in Cell Genomics outlines open-source methods being used to analyze and translate whole-genome, exome, and RNA sequence data from the Pediatric Brain Tumor Atlas.