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Article|06 Feb 2024|OPEN
The chromosome-scale genome and population genomics reveal the adaptative evolution of Populus pruinosa to desertification environment
Jianhao Sun1,2,3 , Jindong Xu4 , Chen Qiu1,2,3 and Juntuan Zhai1,2,3 , Shanhe Zhang1,2,3 , Xiao Zhang1,2,3 , Zhihua Wu5 , , Zhijun Li,1,2,3 ,
1College of Life Science and Technology, Tarim University, Aral 843300, China
2Xinjiang Production & Construction Corps Key Laboratory of Protection and Utilization of Biological Resources in Tarim Basin, Aral 843300, China
3Desert Poplar Research Center of Tarim University, Aral 843300, China
4College of Life Sciences, South-Central Minzu University, Wuhan 430074, China
5College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,

Horticulture Research 11,
Article number: uhae034 (2024)
Views: 890

Received: 11 Sep 2023
Accepted: 23 Jan 2024
Published online: 06 Feb 2024


The Populus pruinosa is a relic plant that has managed to survive in extremely harsh desert environments. Owing to intensifying global warming and desertification, research into ecological adaptation and speciation of P. pruinosa has attracted considerable interest, but the lack of a chromosome-scale genome has limited adaptive evolution research. Here, a 521.09 Mb chromosome-level reference genome of P. pruinosa was reported. Genome evolution and comparative genomic analysis revealed that tandemly duplicated genes and expanded gene families in P. pruinosa contributed to adaptability to extreme desert environments (especially high salinity and drought). The long terminal repeat retrotransposons (LTR-RTs) inserted genes in the gene body region might drive the adaptive evolution of P. pruinosa and species differentiation in saline-alkali desert environments. We recovered genetic differentiation in the populations of the northern Tianshan Mountain and southern Tianshan Mountain through whole-genome resequencing of 156 P. pruinosa individuals from 25 populations in China. Further analyses revealed that precipitation drove the local adaptation of P. pruinosa populations via some genetic sites, such as MAG2-interacting protein 2 (MIP2) and SET domain protein 25 (SDG25). This study will provide broad implications for adaptative evolution and population studies by integrating internal genetic and external environmental factors in P. pruinosa.