Scientists Work to Stop Chocolate From Going Extinct by 2050.
According to a new report in Business Insider, the only thing that consistently makes you happy could go extinct in your lifetime, thanks to a decline in cacao plants (refresher: chocolate is made from the seeds of said plant). Apparently, cacao plants are especially sensitive to climate changes—most of the crops can only be grown in two small countries in Africa, currently—and with the ever-increasing temperatures, the plants are now on track for total extinction as early as 2050 (which, heads up, is only 32 measly years from now).
But before you start hoarding Hershey Kisses for a future black-market scheme, know that scientists at University of California Berkeley are actively working to prevent worldwide sadness by teaming up with Mars (the makers of Snickers, M&Ms, Twix, etc.) to find a cure. The current hope? A gene-editing technology called CRISPR, which aims to create a disease-resistant cacao plant that can grow in different climates.
CRISPR has been called one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the century, thanks to its theorized ability to treat and fix genetic diseases, like cystic fibrosis. These (presumably sweet-toothed) researchers are hoping to use the technology on susceptible crops, like our beloved cacao plants.
Based on the fact that scientists have already used CRISPR to edit genes in human embryos (whaaa!), and that we’ve still got a few decades until cacao really dies out, we feel pretty hopeful in our odds of getting to drink hot chocolate on our deathbeds. Until then, we’ll be using these findings as an excuse to scarf down chocolate bars morning, noon, and night, while also doing everything possible to help end climate change.