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Suburban St. Louis firm working to improve cacao tree

CREVE COEUR, Mo. (AP) _ The candy company Mars Inc. is partnering with a suburban St. Louis company in an effort to improve the cacao tree.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Mars and Benson Hill Biosystems of Creve Coeur, Missouri, are working together in the effort. Benson Hill has a crop-design platform that combines genetic editing with big-data techniques. The firm will seek to develop varieties of cacao that are more resilient and more productive.

An official with Mars says that Benson Hill’s predictive analytics will “significantly accelerate” the cacao breeding that Mars has been doing for two decades.

Mars’ brands include M&Ms, Snickers and Milky Way.
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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com