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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

The super-pangenome of Populus unveils genomic facets for its adaptation and diversification in widespread forest trees

Shi, Tingting; Zhang, Xinxin; Hou, Yukang; Jia, Changfu; Dan, Xuming; Zhang, Yulin; Jiang, Yuanzhong; Lai, Qiang; Feng, Jiajun; Feng, Jianju; Ma, Tao; Wu, Jiali; Liu, Shuyu; Zhang, Lei; Long, Zhiqin; Chen, Liyang; Street, Nathaniel R.; Ingvarsson, Par K.; Liu, Jianquan; Yin, Tongming;
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Understanding the underlying mechanisms and links between genome evolution and adaptive innovations stands as a key goal in evolutionary studies. Poplars, among the world's most widely distributed and cultivated trees, exhibit extensive phenotypic diversity and environmental adaptability. In this study, we present a genus-level super-pangenome comprising 19 Populus genomes, revealing the likely pivotal role of private genes in facilitating local environmental and climate adaptation. Through the integration of pangenomes with transcriptomes, methylomes, and chromatin accessibility mapping, we unveil that the evolutionary trajectories of pangenes and duplicated genes are closely linked to local genomic landscapes of regulatory and epigenetic architectures, notably CG methylation in gene-body regions. Further comparative genomic analyses have enabled the identification of 142 202 structural variants across species that intersect with a significant number of genes and contribute substantially to both phenotypic and adaptive divergence. We have experimentally validated a - 180-bp presence/absence variant affecting the expression of the CUC2 gene, crucial for leaf serration formation. Finally, we developed a user-friendly web-based tool encompassing the multi-omics resources associated with the Populus super-pangenome ( Together, the present pioneering super-pangenome resource in forest trees not only aids in the advancement of breeding efforts of this globally important tree genus but also offers valuable insights into potential avenues for comprehending tree biology.


Populus; pangenomes; whole-genome duplication; structural variation; genome evolution

Published in

Molecular Plant
2024, Volume: 17, number: 5, pages: 725-746
Publisher: CELL PRESS

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Evolutionary Biology

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