Monday, December 4, 2023

Genetics Can Lead To Better Christmas Trees?

     Geneticists are working and experimenting to produce Christmas tress that do not require as much vacuuming back at home. Christmas tress are notoriously known for dropping their needles all over the floor which result in endless vacuuming during the holiday season, so a group of geneticists at the NC State Christmas Tree Genetics Program located at North Carolina University are experimenting to fix this issue. For 40 years, they have been attempting to develop the "elite" Frasier fir trees. These trees account for 98% of trees sold in North Carolina. They believe these new modified trees can be sold to growers in the near future 2026-2028. 

    This research first conducted back in the 1990s when the program tested around 30,00 Frasier fir trees. The team behind the experiment aimed to find the perfect one with the best genetic makeup to ensure the needles do not drop as frequent. Out of the 30,000 trees, they only found 25 with the genetics they were looking for. The trees that they have found have a better growth rate, look nicer, and retained their needles for a longer period of time. Around 2018, these tress were placed in an orchid in hopes that they will produce seeds for more of the genetically similar trees. If it goes accordingly they should have a lot more of these genetically better Frasier
 fir trees to reduce pine needle drop rate. 



  1. Genetically altering the "Christmas tree" yields to shed their needles less is a very interesting direction for genetic engineering. This more desirable version of a highly commercialized product not made for consumption or fashion is not something that is often talked about. And it is also appropriately festive, overall, a very interesting post.

  2. This is a very interesting topic. I never really thought about genetic engineering to be used for these types of things. It's very fun to find out where this experiment goes. I for one, do not buy trees every year around the holidays, as I only stick to a fake one that I can use yearly. But I do know people who buy these types of trees and I've seen the struggle firsthand on how messy the area around the tree gets due to the pine needles. I don't plan on buying these trees anytime in the near future, but I do think that the results, if all goes as planned, could cause more of a demand for purchase.

  3. Being able to genetically alter a christmas tree is mind blowing to me. Everyone loves christmas and the fact they can modify trees to not make as much of a mess in houses is unbelievable. They seem to be very rare as only 25 out of 30,000 they looked at had the genetic makeup they wanted. Very interesting article something I will think about during christmas time.

  4. Clever title, it really did interest me to read your post. Especially as the holiday season is here. I find it odd that 40+years was put into a genetically modified christmas tree. Especially that the average christmas tree lasts approximately 4-5 weeks. All for the reduction of pine needles that cascade the floor? I'm left with more questions on this subject. As I fight this issue by having an artificial Christmas tree. Although I may not agree, I do see the potential of using this research to expand upon the existing knowledge of genetic modification.

  5. Great post! The effort to engineer Christmas trees that do not drop needles as often is very interesting and a fun blend of science and holiday tradition. The persistence and dedication of the NC State Christmas Tree Genetics Program and its research team are admirable. It is a relevant issue as I know many people would prefer real trees but avoid them due to needle drops. This is an interesting topic as it shows a fascinating direction for genetic engineering and it's exciting to see how science can contribute to our holidays!