CFAES Give Today
Mercer Laboratory

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Identifying environmental adaptation in chile peppers (Capsicum spp.)

Diverse types of chile peppers grow along an environmental gradient from warm and humid coastal areas to the cool, dry highlands in their native Mexico.  These environmental gradients encompassing fascinating diversity present an opportunity to study environmental adaptation and the process of domestication.  Using a combination of next generation sequencing technologies, population genetics, phenotyping techniques, and bioclimatic data, we are working to identify a genetic basis to abiotic stress tolerances.  This work will provide insight into the relative importance of environment in organizing diversity across the landscape.  To serve as a base for the project, our collaborative international team has collected germplasm from wild, semi-wild, and domesticated populations in Southern Mexico and is now expanding those collections throughout Mexico.  Current collaborators on this work include, Lev Jardón-Barbolla (UNAM, Mexico), Michael Kantar (UHI), and Leah McHale (OSU).