Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/26/2018
Publication Date: 4/1/2019
Citation: Stommel, J.R. 2019. Reduced seed count improves versatility and propagation of small-fruited peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) for specialty markets. HortScience. 54(4):652-655. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI13602-18.
Interpretive Summary: Small/miniature sweet and hot peppers such as snack peppers are a rapidly growing specialty market. Low seed count is an important attribute for consumer acceptance of small-fruited specialty peppers. Relatively few pepper varieties are available that combine low seed count in a high quality fruit. We identified novel small fruited breeding lines with quality attributes suitable for the snack pepper market and determined the inheritance of low seed count in this material. Our data support the presence of a single gene together with minor genes that condition the low seed count attribute. Simple inheritance of this trait will facilitate breeding of improved specialty pepper varieties with low seed content valued by consumers. This research will benefit plant breeders developing new pepper varieties and ultimately, consumers with availability of new high quality specialty peppers.
Technical Abstract: Small/miniature sweet and hot peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) such as snack peppers are a rapidly growing class of specialty peppers. Low seed count is an important attribute for consumer acceptance of small-fruited specialty peppers. Four inbred USDA C. annuum breeding lines exhibiting uniformity for pod type and size and normal or reduced seed count were selected for producing F1 and segregating F2 and backcross generations. Seed content of F1 hybrids and progeny produced from the backcross of F1 hybrids to normal seed count parents were unimodal and skewed towards parental phenotypes. Progeny produced from backcrosses to the reduced seed count parent exhibited bimodal population distributions representative of parental phenotypes. F2 populations approximated 3:1 frequency distributions skewed towards normal seeded parental phenotypes. Chi-square tests supported a single recessive gene model with potential modifiers controlling inheritance of reduced seed count. Parthenocarpic variants with reduced seed count facilitate seed production and propagation of specialty market class peppers.