New Mexico researchers draft chile pepper genetic map

02/06/2013 10:57:00 AM
Vicky Boyd

chile peppersVicky BoydResearchers at New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute and colleagues in South Korea have created a draft of the chile pepper genome.

This is the first time the chile has been sequenced, which does not involve any genetic modifications of a plant, according to a news release.

The information can be used by breeders, who may want to improve chile drought tolerance, insect and disease resistance, and other qualities.

Breeders will now be able to locate genes or gene promoters responsible for specific attributes.

"What the sequence provides us is a crucial part of the instruction manual for how to breed a better chile pepper plant," Paul Bosland, NMSU professor and institute director, said in the release.

The data suggest that chile peppers have about 3.5 billion base pairs, or building blocks that make up the DNA double helix.

The reseachers also estimate that chiles have about 37,000 genes.

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