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Gene find offers hope on trees

The charity trying to restore the Caledonian Forest to more than 600,000 acres of the Highlands has claimed a conservation breakthrough with the sequencing of the genetic code of a dwarf birch.

It is from Trees for Life's Dundreggan Estate, near Loch Ness in Glen Moriston, where the conservation charity is conserving the species.

Dwarf birch (Betula nana) is a nationally scarce species in Britain, occurring mainly on Scottish mountains.

Richard Buggs, lead scientist of the project, based at Queen Mary, University of London, said: "Increasing our understanding of tree genomes is essential for our long-term ability to conserve and grow species in the UK."

The project was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and appears in journal Molecular Ecology.

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