If you decide to go for a real Christmas tree, instead of a fake, you’ll be faced with the problem of falling needles, as the tree dries out. A seven foot evergreen will bear 350,000 needles and drop most of them on the floor before Christmas is over.

Plant pathologist Gary Chastagner is running a $1.3-million RNA-sequencing trial that is sampling trees for needle retention. His goal is to discover the genes associated with shedding, in order to breed more needle-retentive trees, in order to create a tree that will last from Thanksgiving until after New Year’s.
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