Save the Redwoods League Launches Genome Project

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In California, University of California, Davis, John Hopkins University and Save the Redwoods League are launching an ambitious plan to fully sequence the coast redwood and giant sequoia genomes — for the first time — utilizing conifer genetic sequencing techniques unavailable until now. By the end of this five-year project, the genome sequences and the screening tools developed will allow researchers to quickly assess genetic diversity in redwood forests to inform management plans that restore the health and resilience of these forests throughout their natural ranges as they face environmental stressors such as climate change.

Initial inquiries by the League confirm that some trees are better at surviving drought, fire, pests and diseases than other trees, according to Emily Burns, the League’s Director of Science and the lead investigator for the genome project. By identifying the genes responsible for these adaptations, scientists can compile a scalable database that will aid resource managers as they plan long-term conservation strategies.