Original Article

Heredity (2010) 104, 460–471; doi:10.1038/hdy.2009.131; published online 7 October 2009

Contrasting modes for loss of pungency between cultivated and wild species of Capsicum

G M Stellari1,4, M Mazourek2,4 and M M Jahn3

  1. 1Department of Biochemistry, Life Science Building, SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY, USA
  2. 2Department of Plant Breeding, Bradfield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  3. 3Department of Agronomy and Genetics, Agriculture Hall, Madison, WI, USA

Correspondence: Dr MM Jahn, Department of Agronomy and Genetics, 140 Agriculture Hall, 145 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706, USA. E-mail: mjahn@cals.wisc.edu

4These authors contributed equally to this work.

Received 16 April 2009; Revised 10 July 2009; Accepted 20 July 2009; Published online 7 October 2009.

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Abstract

Studies documenting the inheritance of pungency or ‘heat’ in pepper (Capsicum spp.) have revealed that mutations at a single locus, Pun1, are responsible for loss of pungency in cultivars of the two closely related species Capsicum annuum and Capsicum chinense. In this study, we present the identification of an unreported null allele of Pun1 from a non-pungent accession of Capsicum frutescens, the third species in the annuumchinensefrutescens complex of domesticated Capsicums. The loss of pungency phenotype in C. frutescens maps to Pun1 and co-segregates with a molecular marker developed to detect this allele of Pun1, pun13. Loss of transcription of pun13 is correlated with loss of pungency. Although this mutation is allelic to pun1 and pun12, the mutation causing loss of pungency in the undomesticated Capsicum chacoense, pun2, is not allelic to the Pun1 locus as shown by mapping and complementation studies. The different origins of non-pungency in pepper are discussed in the context of the phylogenetic relationship of the known loss of pungency alleles.

Keywords:

pepper; capsaicinoid; allelism; Pun1

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