Cloning to give ancient ‘Lady Liberty’ new life

Cloning to give ancient ‘Lady Liberty’ new life

Following the demise of its larger, older and better-known sibling the Senator, an attempt is being made to give 2,000-year-old cypress tree “Lady Liberty” a new life through cloning.

The Senator at Big Tree Park in Seminole County burned down in January 2012. The demise of the Senator prompted forest activists to pay a greater heed to the health of the Lady liberty.

The surviving Lady Liberty is really a skyscraper, with its trunk measuring 10 feet thick and height reaching nearly 90 feet. On Monday, a trio of climbers ascended it with a hope of giving it a new life using the cloning technology.

The towering cypress has an 8-foot-tall security fence, but it is not enough to ensure its longevity as experts believe that it will die within next five years. Thus, an attempt is being made to give it a new life through cloning.

David Milarch, who runs a Michigan nonprofit pursuing reforestation with clones from the biggest and oldest trees, called Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, said, “I’m thinking it won’t be here in another five years.”

John Alleyne, a former research horticulturist at the University of Florida, said it was “very, very possible” to save big trees through cloning.

Seminole County, the Lady Liberty’s custodian, said the tree didn’t face any immediate intimidation but the charred hulk of the Senator was a strong reminder that even celebrated trees do not last forever.

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