Researchers from the Institute for the Preservation and Improvement of Valencian Agrodiversity (COMAV) of the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV) have developed the most complete genetic map of peppers ever made, which will make it possible to establish the genetic footprint of the Designations of Origin (DO) and of other prestigious varieties and help prevent fraud.
The study is also opening the door to obtaining new varieties with better organoleptic properties and greater resistance to climate change, and the results will be allowing us to know even the smallest detail about the crop, of which Spain is one of the world's leading producers.
In the framework of the study, which is part of Leandro Pereira's doctoral thesis, the COMAV UPV researchers have analyzed a collection of 190 pepper varieties; 183 cultivated and 7 wild species. The list of those analyzed includes all the ones protected by a Spanish PDO and anything from thick and sweet peppers to those intended for canning or processing. There are varieties from Europe, Asia, Mexico, the United States, South America and the Caribbean.
The analysis consisted of a massive genotyping by sequencing the evaluated varieties, which yielded thousands of DNA Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP). The comparison of the varieties based on these polymorphisms has made it possible to establish the phylogenetic relationships between them.
The work has confirmed the strong relationships between certain Spanish varieties and their Mexican ancestors, or materials from the rest of Europe.