Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS

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The Scientific Discovery Dataset of "Origin of Alpine Plant Diversity in Hengduan Mountains" Published

Recently, Dr. CHEN Jiahui (the first author and co-correspondent author), Prof. SUN Hang (co-correspondent author) and Prof. YANG Yongping (co-correspondent author) at Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and other researchers have published an article entitled "Genome-wide analysis of Cushion willow provides insights into alpine plant divergence in a biodiversity hotspot" in Nature Communications, providing evidence for the origin of alpine plant diversity in the Hengduan Mountains (HDM). The research was supported by the Pan-Third Pole Environment Study for a Green Silk Road-A CAS Strategic Priority A Program.

The HDM biodiversity hotspot exhibits exceptional alpine plant diversity. This research investigates factors driving intraspecific divergence within a HDM alpine species Salix brachista (Cushion willow), a common component of subnival assemblages. It produces a high-quality genome assembly for this species and characterize its genetic diversity, population structure and pattern of evolution by resequencing individuals collected across its distribution. The results indicate that the complex topography, diverse habitats and drastic climatic fluctuations caused by the rapid uplift of the HDM are important factors leading to the intraspecific divergence, which is a prerequisite for the speciation, and therefore, these factors may be important contributors to the formation the high alpine species diversity in the HDM.

Some of the data from this research have been produced into a scientific discovery dataset, entitled " Genome Assembly of Alpine Species Salix Brachista on the Tibetan Plateau (2019)", which is published at the National Tibetan Plateau/Third Pole Environment Data Center (

Data available at:

Full-text available at:

Cushion willow distribution pattern and locations of population samples. a Female individual with flowers.