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Unlocking the Genetic Code of Peppers: New Study Reveals Insights into Domestication and Diversity
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: October 05, 2023 09:17AM

An international team, including scientists from the Boyce Thompson Institute's (BTI) Fei Laboratory, has sequenced the genomes of key cultivated and wild pepper species, offering unprecedented insights into pepper evolution, domestication, and genetic diversity.

The Capsicum genus, commonly called pepper or paprika, belongs to the nightshade family, which includes about 35 species. The research team discovered that the two main domesticated species have been selectively bred in different ways, affecting traits such as fruit size, shape, and spiciness. They also found that some species borrowed genetic traits from others, which could help them better in fighting pests and environmental stress.
The researchers assembled high-quality genomes for three pepper species and constructed a comprehensive graph pan-genome using these genomes as a basis. They then resequenced the genomes of 500 pepper varieties, covering all five domesticated species and their wild relatives. Using these extensive data, they created a detailed variation map to analyze the genetic differences between these species.
??Our findings suggest that the pepper's domestication is more complex than previously thought,? said Professor Zhangjun Fei, one of the study's lead authors. He added that the unique genomic regions they identified could be significant in developing pepper varieties tailored to specific environmental conditions and those with enhanced fruit quality.

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