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Towering Giants' Genomes

Researchers are seeking to untangle the redwood genome to help boost its numbers CBS News reports.

Redwoods have towered over California for ages — an iconic sequoia that fell during a storm last year was estimated to be a thousand years old — but their numbers dwindled as they were used for building and cleared to make way for roads. According to CBS News, only about a quarter of the coast redwood habitat, which once spanned two million acres, is protected from logging and development.

The Save the Redwoods League aims to restore the number of redwoods in part by analyzing the genomes of its most long-lived specimens to identify younger ones that then might have the best shot of surviving and giving them more space to grow by culling other trees, CBS News adds.

"Within a hundred years we absolutely can set these forests on a healthy trajectory where they have many of the characteristics we're looking for in old growth," Emily Burns, a researcher with the Save the Redwoods League, tells CBS News.