The draft genome sequence of a species of hot pepper is reported in Nature Genetics. The hot pepper, Capsicum annuum, is known for its high nutritional value and is one of the most abundant spice crops worldwide. This particular hot pepper strain, collected in Mexico, has also shown high levels of resistance to a range of plant pathogens and is widely used in research and breeding programs.
Doil Choi and colleagues report the whole-genome sequencing of the hot pepper Capsicum annuum, as well as resequencing of two cultivated peppers and a wild species Capsicum chinense. They find that the hot pepper genome is approximately four times larger than the genomes of the closely related tomato. They also highlight genetic influences that may underlie the hot pepper’s pungency, ripening process and disease resistance.