Redwood Genome Project

Forever Forest
Donors to the League’s Forever Forest Campaign are providing support to this project. Learn more

The Redwood Genome Project is a multi-year effort to sequence the coast redwood and giant sequoia genomes and lay the foundation for the development of genetic screening tools that can now be developed to aid in the conservation and management of these species.

As the League seeks opportunities to restore coast redwood and giant sequoia forests—some of which have been damaged by decades of logging—we need to expand our understanding of how these species are adapting to their changing environments. What in the genetic code of the trees enables them to better withstand drought, wildfire, or climate change? How can we best achieve the resilience that genetic diversity can deliver? And, how can these lessons help guide the League’s important restoration work?

Redwood Forest Strength Through Genetic Diversity

To answer these questions, the League in 2017 launched the Redwood Genome Project, a multi-year effort to sequence the coast redwood and giant sequoia genomes. Researchers from the League, University of California, Davis, Johns Hopkins University, University of Connecticut, and Northern Arizona University are leading the project.

Put simply, a genome is an organism’s complete set of genetic instructions, and is comprised of DNA, the unique chemical code that guides growth, development and health. Each genome contains all the information needed to build that organism and allow it to grow and develop.

New technologies made mapping the complex codes faster and more cost effective. Initial findings showed that the sequences for the coast redwood and giant sequoia are both quite complex, with the coast redwood genome is nearly nine times larger than the human genome.

This research helps lay the foundation for the development of genetic screening tools that can now be developed to inform management plans and help these species thrive for centuries to come.

Project support

The Redwood Genome Project is made possible by Forever Forest: The Campaign for the Redwoods, a comprehensive campaign launched by Save the Redwoods League to garner support for the organization’s ambitious vision for the next century of redwoods conservation. The League’s goal is to raise $120 million by 2022 to fund the first years of this centennial vision, which includes protecting entire landscapes through large-scale, strategic land acquisitions; restoring young redwood forests to become the old-growth forests of the future; and connecting all people with the beauty and power of the redwoods through transformational park experiences.

We thank Ralph Eschenbach and Dr. Carol Joy Provan for their generous lead gift to support the Redwood Genome Project.

Access the data

  1. Publication of coast redwood genome (December, 2021)
  2. Publication of giant sequoia genome (November, 2020)
  3. Sequence data available

Read more about the Redwood Genome Project at the links below.


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