Chemistry and Nutritional Effects of Capsicum
Chapter 2: Biological Features of Capsicum
Published:28 Nov 2022
Special Collection: 2022 ebook collection
Chemistry and Nutritional Effects of Capsicum, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2022, ch. 2, pp. 15-33.
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Capsicum is one of the most commercialised genera of the Solanaceae botanical family. Despite its relatively small size, with no more than 40 species, the Capsicum genus is one of the most morphologically and genetically diverse genera. Considered to be one of the oldest domesticated crops, it has only five domesticated species, which are also the only species in this genus with morphological features that enable easy distinction. Capsicum species can present as small shrubs or trees, with hermaphrodite flowers and campanulate or rotate corollas, in colours such as white, yellowish green, yellow and purple. The fruit colours are also extremely variable within the genus. Each of these morphological features is a reflection of a specific combination of genes. It is estimated that at least 70% of the whole genome of Capsicum has been catalogued, reaching a size of 3.5 Gb. The genetic mapping of species has been an outstanding tool in understanding the evolutionary pattern of the genus and in aiding breeding programmes. The ability to track the genes responsible for a certain desirable feature can increase the productivity of crops and the development of preservation strategies.