Cacao Genomics Research: Short Course for Underrepresented Undergraduate Students

November 22, 2022

The Penn State Endowed program in the Molecular Biology of Cacao is pleased to announce the 2023 Summer Internship Program for underrepresented undergraduate students supported by the Plant Genome Program of the National Science Foundation.

Study of structural variants in cacao genomes yields clues about plant diversity

August 26, 2021

An exhaustive and painstaking comparison of the genomes of multiple strains of the cacao tree by a team of researchers has provided insights into the role genomic structural variants play in the regulation of gene expression and chromosome evolution, giving rise to the differences within populations of the plant.

New Manuscript Published! Congratulations to Sarah and Akiva!

May 20, 2021

Global Programs announces award recipients for 2020-21

April 13, 2021

Penn State Global Programs has announced the 2020-21 recipients of its annual awards that recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals and academic programs at Penn State who have helped to advance the University’s global engagement goals.

New Project: Biofortification for Caribbean Nations Completes First Year Field Trials

January 6, 2021

The CARICOM Biofortification Network being spearheaded by IICA is undertaking trials of iron enriched beans in Belize and zinc biofortified rice in Guyana.

New Manuscript Published: Clovamide, a Hydroxycinnamic Acid Amide, Is a Resistance Factor Against Phytophthora spp. in Theobroma cacao

December 23, 2020

Success Story: Fulbright and Colfuturo Scholars Work to Build a Bright Future for Cacao in Colombia

May 15, 2020

Penn State has committed $530,000 of new support for three of the CfP graduates to continue with their PhD studies.

Update from the Days of COVID-19

May 6, 2020

Our lab remains open under tightly controlled safety conditions. We are also focused on writing manuscripts, a thesis, and thesis proposal and several grant proposals. Overall our progress is continuing at an efficient pace given the circumstances. Our weekly lab meetings continue, in this photo, we celebrate Sarah Prewitt last week, as she moves into a new position at USDA APHIS!

New Manuscript: Widely distributed variation in tolerance to Phytophthora palmivora in four genetic groups of cacao

December 6, 2019

Two New Manuscripts Published! Congratulations to all the authors.

August 29, 2019

Guiltinan and Maximova Awarded the 2019 W. LaMarr Kopp International Faculty Award

April 1, 2019

W. LaMarr Kopp International Faculty Awards Selection Committee has selected Mark Guiltinan and Siela Maximova, as a team, for the 2019 award in recognition of their contributions to the advancement of the university’s international mission. The team will be honored at the University Faculty and Staff Awards ceremony on Tuesday, April 2nd at the Nittany Lion Inn Alumni Ballroom, beginning at noon. https://news.psu.edu/story/564797/2019/04/02/academics/guiltinan-maximova-receive-2019-kopp-international-achievement

Guiltinan receives Black Award for excellence in research

March 27, 2019

March 26, 2019 UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Mark Guiltinan, J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is the recipient of the 2018 Alex and Jessie C. Black Award for Excellence in Research.

Penn State Fine Flavor Cacao Visiting Scientist Program 2020

March 21, 2019

With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Foreign Agricultural Service, the Cacao and Chocolate Research Network (CCRN) at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is pleased to announce the 2020 Visiting Scientist Program. The program will support visiting scientists to work with Penn State faculty and international collaborators to advance research that is critical to the development of the fine flavor cacao/chocolate industry in Latin America and the Caribbean. These visiting scientists will spend six months at Penn State. Currently, the program is only accepting applications for economics research of the fine flavor cacao market. Exchanges will take place within the January-December 2020 timeframe, with exact dates to be determined jointly by the visiting scientist and his/her Penn State faculty mentor.

New Manuscript Published: Congratulations to all the authors!

February 14, 2019

Entomology students' global research to be supported by inaugural Guyton Award: New Scholarship Established by Bill Guyton

January 25, 2019

New Manuscript Published! Glucocorticoid receptor-regulated TcLEC2 expression triggers somatic embryogenesis in Theobroma cacao leaf tissue

November 30, 2018

Plant science faculty member named Styer Professor

September 26, 2018

Mark Guiltinan, professor of plant molecular biology in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, recently was named the J. Franklin Styer Professor of Horticultural Botany.

New Manuscript

September 13, 2018

Congratulations to all authors and contributors! Transcriptomic analyses of cacao cell suspensions in light and dark provide target genes for controlled flavonoid production Adriana M. Gallego, Luisa F. Rojas, Oriana Parra, Héctor A. Rodriguez, Juan C. Mazo Rivas, Aura Inés Urrea, Lucía Atehortúa, Andrew S. Fister, Mark J. Guiltinan, Siela N. Maximova & Natalia Pabón-Mora Scientific Reports Volume 8, Article number: 13575 (2018)

Penn State Fine Flavor Cacao Visiting Scientist Program 2018-2019

September 2, 2018

With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Foreign Agricultural Service, the Cacao and Chocolate Research Network (CCRN) at The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is pleased to announce the 2019-2020 Visiting Scientist Program. The program will support five visiting scientists to work with Penn State faculty and international collaborators to advance research that is critical to the development of the fine flavor cacao/chocolate industry in Latin America and the Caribbean. These visiting scientists will spend six months at Penn State or at a partner institution working on one of the following topic areas: advanced sensory evaluation, the fine flavor cacao market, or issues related to cadmium accumulation in cacao. Exchanges will take place within the January 2019 to May 2020 timeframe, with exact dates to be determined jointly by the visiting scientist and his/her Penn State faculty mentor.

Would You Eat These Futuristic Foods? FUTURE FRONTIERS FEATURE STORY Kira Peikoff June 29, 2018

July 3, 2018

Gene editing shows promise for improving the 'chocolate tree'

May 11, 2018

Use of the powerful gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 could help to breed cacao trees that exhibit desirable traits such as enhanced resistance to diseases, according to plant scientists. The cacao tree, which grows in tropical regions, produces the cocoa beans that are the raw material of chocolate. Reliable productivity from cacao plants is essential to the multibillion-dollar chocolate industry, the economies of producing countries and the livelihoods of millions of smallholder cacao farmers. But each year, several plant diseases severely limit global production, with 20-30 percent of cocoa pods destroyed preharvest. CRISPR stands for clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. It is a way to modify an organism's genome by precisely delivering a DNA-cutting enzyme, Cas9, to a targeted region of DNA. The resulting change can delete or replace specific DNA pieces, thereby promoting or disabling certain traits. Previous work in cacao identified a gene, known as TcNPR3, that suppresses the plant's disease response. The researchers hypothesized that using CRISPR-Cas9 to knock out this gene would result in enhanced disease resistance. The ultimate goals of the cacao research are to help raise the standard of living for smallholder growers and stabilize a threatened cocoa supply by developing plants that can withstand diseases, climate change and other challenges.

Science News for Students:

February 8, 2018

Increasingly, chocolate-makers turn to science Researchers are studying chocolate to boost its health benefits and produce more of this tasty treat

Welcoming new graduate students!

August 23, 2017

New Manuscript: Major Cacao Plant Pathogens Sequenced

March 23, 2017

Radio Interview: Reengineering Chocolate: WGHB Boston

February 24, 2017

Imagine working with cocoa all day, but never knowing the taste of chocolate. Lecturer Kristy Leissle says that’s the case for many farmers in Ghana, the number two producer of cocoa in the world, where high temperatures stymie the market. A new discovery by biologist Mark Guiltinan and his lab could change things, though, making chocolate less fickle and bringing it to millions - or billions - more people.

New National Science Foundation Funded Project Awarded

January 8, 2017

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