Campus News

Professor shares insight on tree cloning

Scott Merkle, professor of forest biology in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, spoke with USA Today about the prospects of cloning old trees.

Merkle pointed out that many factors contribute to a tree’s age in addition to genetics: the site it’s sitting on, what’s interacting with it in the soil, the surrounding environment and luck.

“There’s so many variables that there’s certainly no guarantee that they will be able to survive and perform better than other trees that you might put out on the landscape,” Merkle said.

He added that the sheer age of historic trees makes them difficult to study.

“There’s no real way to test these hypotheses in our lifetimes,” he said.