This research explores adaptations to water deficit in chile pepper landraces from across an environmental gradient in Mexico, a center of crop domestication and diversity, and improved varieties bred for the US. In the present study, the research team evaluated 25 US and Mexico accessions in a greenhouse experiment under well-watered and water deficit conditions and measured morphological, physiological, and agronomic traits.
Accession and irrigation regime influenced plant biomass and height, while branching, CO2 assimilation, and fruit weight were all influenced by an interaction between accession and irrigation. A priori group contrasts revealed possible adaptations to water deficit for branching, CO2 assimilation, and plant height associated with geographic origin, domestication level, and pepper species.
Additionally, within the Mexican landraces, the number of primary branches had a strong relationship with precipitation from the environment of origin. This work provides insight into chile pepper response to water deficit and adaptation to drought and identifies possibly tolerant germplasm.
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McCoy, Jack & McHale, Leah & Kantar, Michael & Jardón-Barbolla, Lev & Mercer, Kristin. (2022). Environment of origin and domestication affect morphological, physiological, and agronomic response to water deficit in chile pepper (Capsicum sp.). PloS one. 17. e0260684. 10.1371/journal.pone.0260684.