Thursday, 15 November 2012

DNA tests for rare birch trees from Caucasus Mountains

By Chris EllisBBC News Online, South West

The DNA of endangered trees found only in the Caucasus Mountains will be analysed by a botanist in Devon and a London university in a bid to find out more information about their evolution.

The birch tree seeds have been brought back to Devon by Paul Bartlett, from Stone Lane Gardens, in Chagford.

Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London, plan to test three species of birch found only in the mountain range, which extends across several countries including Georgia, southern Russia and Azerbaijan.

Mr Bartlett said he believed the research had never been done before and was new to science.

He said: "The trees have been grown in the UK in the past, using seed sent by Caucasian botanists, but the seed I have collected is possibly the first seed brought back by anyone from the UK."

Mr Bartlett will germinate the seeds and raise the seedlings in Devon.

Very rare
Tissue samples will then be sent to the university for analysis, which includes counting the number of chromosomes, which house the genetic code DNA.

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