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Patterns of genetic variation of the genusCapsicum (Solanaceae) in Mexico

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The evolutionary relationships of 186 accessions ofCapsicum from Mexico were studied through enzyme electrophoresis. A total of 76 alleles representing 20 genetic loci coding for nine enzyme systems were observed and the allelic variations of enzymes were studied for geographical distribution. Allele frequencies were used to estimate the apportionment of gene diversity within and between populations and to construct a dendrogram based on a similarity matrix containingNei genetic distances. — The gene diversity estimates suggest that the structure ofCapsicum populations in Mexico consists of predominantly homozygous genotypes presumably due to a self-pollinated breeding system and population bottlenecks. Significant genetic differentiation was found mainly between populations of differing geographical regions.—Based on the results of this study, three species of domesticatedCapsicum can be identified in Mexico,C. annuum var.annuum, C. chinense, andC. pubescens. Semidomesticated and wild forms include two species,C. frutescens andC. annuum var.glabriusculum. A sharp geographical division results between the latter species;C. frutescens was collected exclusively in the southeastern states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Tabasco; whereas wild and semidomesticated forms from the rest of the country areC. annuum. Based upon the similarity of enzyme genotypes of semidomesticated and wild forms, the primary center of domestication of cultivatedC. annuum was estimated to be the region comprising the states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Veracruz, and Hidalgo in eastern Mexico. A possible second center of domestication is suggested to be localized in the state of Nayarit, western Mexico.

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Loaiza-Figueroa, F., Ritland, K., Cancino, J.A.L. et al. Patterns of genetic variation of the genusCapsicum (Solanaceae) in Mexico. Pl Syst Evol 165, 159–188 (1989).

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Key words

  • Angiosperms
  • Solanaceae
  • Capsicum
  • Isozymes
  • genetic distance
  • geographic differentiation