Dec 23, 2017

Scientists want to find the genes of the perfect Christmas tree

A Christmas tree at Galleria Alberto Sordi in Rome. Photo: Ernesto Ruscio / Getty Images

Science might soon allow you to host a hardy, needle-retaining Christmas tree in your home with minimal care via new genetic research, per Wired. Researchers at Washington State University and the University of Connecticut are working together to analyze five years' worth of genetic data from the best and worst needle-retaining trees around the country.

How it works: The scientists aren't analyzing the entire genomes of the conifers — just the sequences that deal with needle retention. By focusing their research there, they can look for genetic patterns amongst the best and worst trees. In the future, those markers could allow growers to target the best Christmas trees and cull the needle droppers, which is especially important because it can take up to a decade to grow a properly sized tree.

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