A new collection of wild populations of Capsicum in Mexico and the southern United States
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An exploration and collection mission for wild populations of Capsicum was carried out in the fall of 2006 and 2007, in 13 Mexican states and in the U.S. states of Arizona and Texas. The aim of this collection was to expand the number of accessions of wild chile pepper (Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum and Capsicum frutescens) that are publicly available for research in plant improvement and for subsequent use in an inquiry into the domestication of C. annuum. While Mexico and the United States National Plant Germplasm System both have germplasm repositories INIFAP—Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales—Agrícolas y Pecuarias and USDA GRIN—United States Department of Agriculture’s Genetic Resources Information Network) with accessions of C. annuum var. glabriusculum, the very limited number available, their age, and/or validity of the information attached to many accessions do not allow for extensive research. Four hundred and sixty-six plants were sampled over two field seasons, of which copies of the collection reside in both UAA and at UC Davis. Given the current environment with the intellectual property of varieties of crop plants and, particularly, the extreme restrictions affecting explorations and the official procuring and sharing of germplasm across national borders, this U.S.—Mexico collaboration is one of the few examples of joint U.S.—Mexico germplasm collection efforts.
KeywordsCapsicum Crop domestication Germplasm collection Mexico United States Wild crop relatives
KHK, JLR and PG were funded by two different UCMEXUS grants. KHK was funded by a García–Robles Fulbright fellowship. Thanks to Mexican collaborators: Dr. Sergio Hernández-Verdugo, Dr. Horacio Villálon, Dr. Lilia Alcaraz, Dr. Francisco Cora. KHK would like to thank Heather Zornetzer for her invaluable assistance during field collection.
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