The San Francisco Chronicle reports that researchers have sequenced the genomes of both the coast redwood and the giant sequoia. It adds that having the trees' genomes may enable researchers to figure out ways to protect them from the effects of climate change.
According to the University of California, Davis, the coast redwood genome is the second-largest genome ever sequenced at a size of 27 billion basepairs, which it notes is nine times the size of the human genome, which is about 3 billion basepairs. The giant sequoia genome, meanwhile, is about three times the size of the human genome, it adds. The researchers, who are from UC Davis, Johns Hopkins University, and the Save the Redwoods League, have made their data publicly available.
"Now we can screen for genetic diversity and make restoration decisions," Emily Burns, the director of science for Save the Redwoods League, tells the Chronicle. "We want to know which genes are influential for drought tolerance and fire resistance. It's the road map for how we are going to conserve the species in the future."