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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Morphological and Comparative Transcriptome Analysis of Three Species of Five-Needle Pines: Insights Into Phenotypic Evolution and Phylogeny

Li, Xiang; Cai, Kewei; Zhao, Qiushuang; Li, Hanxi; Wang, Xuelai; Tigabu, Mulualem; Sederoff, Ronald; Ma, Wenjun; Zhao, Xiyang


Pinus koraiensis, Pinus sibirica, and Pinus pumila are the major five-needle pines in northeast China, with substantial economic and ecological values. The phenotypic variation, environmental adaptability and evolutionary relationships of these three five-needle pines remain largely undecided. It is therefore important to study their genetic differentiation and evolutionary history. To obtain more genetic information, the needle transcriptomes of the three five-needle pines were sequenced and assembled. To explore the relationship of sequence information and adaptation to a high mountain environment, data on needle morphological traits [needle length (NL), needle width (NW), needle thickness (NT), and fascicle width (FW)] and 19 climatic variables describing the patterns and intensity of temperature and precipitation at six natural populations were recorded. Geographic coordinates of altitude, latitude, and longitude were also obtained. The needle morphological data was combined with transcriptome information, location, and climate data, for a comparative analysis of the three five-needle pines. We found significant differences for needle traits among the populations of the three five-needle pine species. Transcriptome analysis showed that the phenotypic variation and environmental adaptation of the needles of P. koraiensis, P. sibirica, and P. pumila were related to photosynthesis, respiration, and metabolites. Analysis of orthologs from 11 Pinus species indicated a closer genetic relationship between P. koraiensis and P. sibirica compared to P. pumila. Our study lays a foundation for genetic improvement of these five-needle pines and provides insights into the adaptation and evolution of Pinus species.


five-needle pines; Pinus koraiensis; Pinus sibirica; Pinus pumila; transcriptome sequencing; SSRs; Pinus phylogeny

Published in

Frontiers in Plant Science
2022, volume: 13, article number: 795631

Authors' information

Li, Xiang
Northeast Forestry University - China
Cai, Kewei
Northeast Forestry University - China
Zhao, Qiushuang
Northeast Forestry University - China
Li, Hanxi
Northeast Forestry University - China
Wang, Xuelai
Northeast Forestry University - China
Tigabu, Mulualem
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Sederoff, Ronald
North Carolina State University
Ma, Wenjun
Chinese Academy of Forestry
Zhao, Xiyang
Northeast Forestry University - China
Zhao, Xiyang
Jilin Agricultural University

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

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