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Saplings Created From DNA Of Massive Redwood Planted In Presidio

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- A scientific breakthrough is allowing scientists to bring back ancient trees once thought to be lost forever, planting the seeds for those ancient redwoods in San Francisco's Presidio.

Working with the Presidio Trust, the non-profit research firm Archangel has perfected the technique of extracting DNA from those long lost trees.

Some of those saplings will be planted on a hillside near the Presidio parade grounds. The soil is carefully prepared, tilled and fertilized and an irrigation system has almost been completed.

These are not your normal coastal redwood tree saplings. The pure DNA clones were created in a laboratory.

"It's like you're keeping the same tree alive eternally," said Joe Sandri, a member of the Board of Directors for Archangel.

The Fieldbrook Redwood, chopped down in 1890, was believed to be one of the largest trees in North America. 35 feet in diameter and  once rising to more than 400 feet tall, there was nothing left of the 3,000-years-old giant but a rotting stump until Archangel cloned it's DNA.

"One hundred percent of the DNA through this cloning process." said Sandri.

The saplings are exact copies and the Presidio Trust is replanting 75 clones. Steve Duffy, a Redwood arborist for the Presidio, was excited for the new additions.

"This brings to the Presidio ancient trees, the likes of which we just don't have in the park," said Duffy.

Duffy said the expected rainy weather coming this weekend is perfect for these special trees to start a new life.

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