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  • Author or Editor: James P. Kilcrease x
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Two key fruit qualities in Capsicum annuum are fruit pungency and color. We characterize 13 New Mexican landraces for fruit quality traits at both the chemical level measuring the capsaicinoids, dihydrocapsaicin, and capsaicin as well as five carotenoids, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, violaxanthin, and capsanthin, and at the genetic level sequencing two genes in these landraces, Kas I, a capsaicinoid pathway gene, and Ccs, a carotenoid pathway gene. All of the landraces had unusually high levels of dihydrocapsaicin in comparison with capsaicin levels. The levels of the most abundant red pigment, capsanthin, ranged between 468 and 1007 μg·g−1 dry weight fruit in field-grown fruit, whereas levels of β-carotene were more similar in the landraces (13 to 22 μg·g−1 dry weight fruit). Twelve different Kas I alleles were found in the landraces, which predicted six novel KAS proteins in these landraces. Seven alleles of Ccs were found, which predicted three novel CCS proteins. These results demonstrate that the landraces under cultivation in small farms and pueblos in northern New Mexico are sources of important genetic diversity for Capsicum crops.

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