Taxonomy and genetic diversity of domesticated Capsicum species in the Andean region
The Capsicum genus is native to tropical America and consists of 27 species, five of which are used as fresh vegetables and spices: Capsicum annuum L., Capsicum chinense Jacq., Capsicum frutescens L., Capsicum baccatum L. and Capsicum pubescens R. et P. The study of the relationships among species of cultivate Capsicum species will be useful for breeding new cultivars or hybrids. This study is focused on the genetic diversity and relationships of these species that were collected in the Andean region. Ten microsatellites and four AFLP combinations were used to characterize 260 Capsicum accessions. The AFLP tree turned out to be informative regarding relationships among species. The data clearly showed the close relationships between C. chinense and C. frutescens. Moreover, C. cardenasii and C. eximium were indistinguishable as a single, morphologically variable species. Our data showed C. baccatum and C. praetermissum to be distinct species that form a compact group. In the present work, AFLP fingerprinting indicated that C. chacoense was placed in the C. baccatum complex and showed C. tovarii as a separate species. In addition, SSR data indicated that there is intraspecific differentiation in the species C. chinense, C. baccatum and C. pubescens, as the PCoA-based clustering showed a clear geographic division related to country. Even though Bolivia is considered to be the nuclear area for these species, we have found similar variability in Ecuador and Peru for several Capsicum species.