Genetic diversity and structure in semiwild and domesticated chiles ( Capsicum Annuum ; Solanaceae) from Mexico

Aguilar Meléndez Araceli, Peter L. Morrell, Mikeal L. Roose, Seung Chul Kim

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104 Scopus citations


The chile of Mesoamerica, Capsicum annuum , is one of fi ve domesticated chiles in the Americas. Among the chiles, it varies the most in size, form, and color of its fruits. Together with maize, C. annuum is one of the principal elements of the neotropical diets of Mesoamerican civilizations. Despite the great economic and cultural importance of C. annuum both worldwide and in Mexico, however, very little is known about its geographic origin and number of domestications. Here we sampled a total of 80 accessions from Mexico (58 semiwild and 22 domesticated) and examined nucleotide sequence diversity at three single- or lowcopy nuclear loci, Dhn, G3pdh , and Waxy . Across the three loci, we found an average reduction of ca. 10% in the diversity of domesticates relative to semiwild chiles and geographic structure within Mexican populations. The Yucatan Peninsula contained a large number of haplotypes, many of which were unique, suggesting an important region of chile domestication and center of diversity. The present sampling of loci did not conclusively resolve the number and location of domestications, but several lines of evidence suggest multiple independent domestications from widely distributed progenitor populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1190-1202
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of botany
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Capsicum annuum
  • Chiles
  • Dhn
  • Domestication
  • G3pdh
  • Genetic diversity
  • Mexico
  • Nuclear loci
  • Solanaceae
  • Waxy
  • Yucatan Peninsula


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