Submitted to: Peppers: botany, production and uses
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/2/2011
Publication Date: 2/14/2012
Citation: Stommel, J.R., Albrecht, E. 2012. Genetics. In: Russo, V.M., editor. Peppers: botany, production and uses. Cambridge, MA: CABI. p. 29-57. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The genus Capsicum represents one of several well characterized Solanaceous genera. A wealth of classical and molecular genetics research is available for the genus. Information gleaned from its cultivated relatives, tomato and potato, provide further insight for basic and applied studies. Early classical genetic studies focused on easily scored morphological traits and progressed to economically important production related attributes of the crop. Breeding objectives for the crop focus on fruit attributes including yield, color, size, shape and pungency and fruit and foliar disease resistance in open field and protected culture. Since the late 1980s, efforts to tag and map identified genes using molecular methods has provided markers linked with important traits for use in marker-assisted breeding programs for sweet and hot pepper. Utilizing mapping populations developed from a series of interspecific crosses, RFLP, AFLP, RAPD and SSR markers have been integrated to improve the average marker density and facilitate identification of simply inherited and complex attributes. Mapping of new simply inherited and complex loci will increase resolution of marker-based linkage maps and in turn continue to advance our knowledge of complex traits. Relative to the repertoire of known structural gene identity and function in Capsicum, considerably more research is required to further our knowledge of associated regulatory elements and understanding of tissue or development specific gene expression. Whereas capacity and speed for DNA sequencing has grown tremendously, technology to aid high throughput phenotyping remains rate limiting for genetic linkage studies, gene function analysis and marker validation. Genome-wide gene expression analysis, together with bayesian learning strategies offers new opportunities to understand complex breeding issues, in particular, genotype x environment interactions. These new technologies promise to facilitate improvements in pepper disease and pest resistance, water use efficiency, yield, and fruit quality. Plant breeders serve as the bridge in translating this wealth of new data into solutions for crop improvement. This chapter provides an overview of past and current pepper breeding and genetics accomplishments and future needs.