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Chocolate Might Go Extinct In Our Lifetimes, As If We Needed That Right Now

As ubiquitous as chocolate is, the cacao bean can only be grown in a very specific longitudinal strip on our tender planet.

According to Business Insider, the habitat of the World's Most Important Bean is "a narrow strip of rainforested land roughly 20 degrees north and south of the equator, where temperature, rain, and humidity all stay relatively constant throughout the year" and is therefore extremely vulnerable to the effects of global climate change. On top of that, in as early as 2010, Scientific American forecast a possible fungal threat to the tree bearing the bean. We may indeed be at Peak Chocolate.


So what can a massive industry and all the scientific capacity of the human race do? It may come down to gene therapy. Mars is teaming up with scientists at UC Berkeley to experiment with the 3D printer of genetic code, an editing system called CRISPR.

Using CRISPR, Mars & the scientists are trying to develop a bean that will be disease resistant and grow at different elevations & different longitudes. Jennifer Doudna, one of the developers of the CRISPR system, has expressed an Einsteinian concern at the implications of the technology and its proximity to eugenics, but has previously expressed optimism regarding a longer-lasting tomato. 

Here's to hoping at the very least that the possibility of the loss of chocolate might start to convince some climate change deniers. 

There are multiple avenues to explore in confronting this very pressing issue, according to a particularly illuminating exchange in the Jezebel comment section (rare, right?).

Either way, feel free to join the dialogue and help save the chocolate. 

H/T: Jezebel