FOR anyone who likes strawberries dipped in chocolate it is a day of double celebration. Scientists have mapped the complete genetic code of both for the first time in a development that could lead to tastier and healthier varieties. Two international teams of scientists made the achievements at the same time and published their findings in the journal Nature Genetics. The chocolate team, headed by scientists at the French agricultural research centre CIRAD, sequenced the DNA make up of the Theobroma cacao, a tree that makes some of the finest chocolate in the world. At present many growers prefer to grow hybrid cacao trees that produce chocolate of lower quality but are more resistant to disease. But it is hoped that this genome could lead to modifications that make the finer chocolate easier to grow and perhaps even more tasty. Fine cocoa production is estimated to be less than five percent of the world cocoa production because of low productivity and disease susceptibility, said co-author Professor Mark Guiltinan of Penn State University. Currently, most cacao farmers earn about 1 per day, but producers of fine cacao earn more. Increasing the productivity and ease of growing finer quality cacao can help to develop a sustainable cacao economy. TG