Inheritance of seedling and plant traits in ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum)
Pepper has considerable genetic diversity and versatility. Knowledge of the genetic control of traits in peppers is of great importance for breeding programs given the large variety of types, sizes, colors and flavors. To this end, we examined the inheritance of seedling and plant traits in ornamental pepper (Capsicum annuum). The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse in Areia, Paraíba, Brazil. Seven ornamental pepper accessions (C. annuum) belonging to the Federal University of Paraiba’s Germplasm Bank were investigated: UFPB001, UFPB004, UFPB77.3, UFPB099, UFPB134, UFPB137 and UFPB390. Morphoagronomic characterization was performed based on Capsicum descriptors, and 12 quantitative traits were evaluated in seedlings and plants. The data were subjected to variance analysis and subsequent diallel analysis performed according to Hayman's method. The t statistic was used to test the adequacy of the additive-dominance model. The traits seedling height, hypocotyl diameter, cotyledon leaf length, plant height, bifurcation height, leaf length and width and chlorophyll a and b are in agreement with the additive-dominant model. Correlations were positive and significant for seedling height (0.470) and hypocotyl diameter (0.885). Cotyledonary leaf length and width showed negative and significant values of -0.088 and -0.669, respectively. The correlations were positive for the following traits: plant height, stem diameter, first bifurcation height, canopy diameter, leaf length and chlorophyll b, with values ranging from 0.094 to 0.965. Leaf width and chlorophyll a exhibited negative r correlation values. In the genetic parameters estimate, the positive r correlation for most of the traits indicates that the recessive alleles were generally responsible for the increase in these traits. Genetic gains for plant traits in ornamental peppers are possible using breeding programs. The parents UFPB001 and UFPB134 exhibited the highest concentration of favorable alleles for size traits and are indicated for selection for continued improvement programs.