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 U.S. Department of Agriculture (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 exhibited unimodal frequency distributions and skewed toward the parent with normal seed count. Progeny produced from backcrosses to the reduced seed count parent exhibited bimodal population distributions representative of the respective parental phenotypes. F2 populations approximated 3:1 frequency distributions skewed toward normal-seeded parental phenotypes. Chi-square tests supported a single recessive gene model with potential modifiers controlling inheritance of reduced seed count. Genetic variants with reduced seed count facilitate seed production and propagation of specialty market class peppers.
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