29th Nov., 2013. In an article titled, “Genomic insights into salt adaptation in a desert poplar,” published in the November issue of Nature Communications, the two lead authors, Jun Wang and Liu Jianquan along with 41 associates report the genome sequence of the desert poplar, Populus euphratica. This species exhibits a high tolerance to salt stress. These authors observed that the genome of this desert poplar is very similar and collinear to the closely related mesophytic species, namelyP. trichocarpa. The study further revealed that several gene families likely to be involved in tolerance to salt stress contain significantly more gene copies within the P. euphratica lineage showing clear evidence that the genes showing evidence of positive selection are significantly enriched in functional categories related to salt stress. Some of these genes, and others within the same class are significantlyupregulated under salt stress relative to their expression compared to the salt sensitive species P. tricarpa. The results reported by these authors provide an important backdrop for comprehending tree species of adaptation to salt stress. The results will go a long way to facilitate the genetic improvement of cultivated poplars for saline soils.