Characterization of a pepper collection (Capsicum frutescens L.) from Brazil.
Germplasm banks are essential as sources of genetic variability for plant breeding programs. To characterize a Brazilian Capsicum frutescens collection, 21 malagueta and 5 Tabasco hot pepper accessions were evaluated under field and greenhouse conditions regarding morphological and molecular traits, as well as resistance to viruses. Morphological characterization was performed using 53 IPGRI (International Plant Genetic Resources Institute) descriptors, 15 vegetative, 13 inflorescence, 22 fruit, and 3 seed. Molecular characterization was carried out with 60 polymorphic markers from 29 RAPD primers. The incidence of major viruses infecting Capsicum spp, Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), Groundnut ringspot virus (GRSV), Potato virus Y (PVY), Pepper yellow mosaic virus (PepYMV), Pepper mild mottle virus (PMMoV), and Cucumber mosaic virus (CMV) was evaluated by ELISA. Based on the average genetic distance among genotypes, six groups were defined for the 53 IPGRI descriptors. When considering only 11 quantitative traits (five vegetative and six fruit), six groups were also determined, and the traits plant canopy width (56.05%) and days to fruiting (25.07%) most explained the genetic diversity among genotypes. Molecular analysis defined five groups of accessions with partial correspondence to the morphological characterization data. The incidence of viruses in field-grown plants varied among genotypes and according to virus species, from 5.6% (GRSV; CNPH 3286) to 100% (PMMoV; CNPH2871), and indicated some accessions as potential sources of virus resistance. These results demonstrate the genetic variability within the group of 26 hot pepper accessions, as well as virus-resistant genotypes that can be used in breeding programs.