Hybridizing Peppers

thornyissue(9)June 1, 2005

Hi, this year I ended 12 types of chilies and would love to hybridize some of them and see what happens.

Is there a site that shows the basics -

What's required to hybridize?

Do I grow hybrids from seed?



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keking(z6 TN)


Hybridization is pretty simple. Remove the anthers (the organs that produce the pollen) from a flower that is getting ready to open. Then apply pollen from another variety to the stigma (the sticky knob in the middle of the flower). Let the fruit ripen, harvest and plant the seeds. You'll be on your way to developing a new strain of your own.

There has been considerable research in recent years on graft hybridization of peppers and other plants. For this process you graft a shoot of one variety onto another. Let it self-pollinate. Then let the fruit ripen, harvest and plant the seeds the same as for a "normal" hybrid. Some traits of the stock (the part of the grafted plant with the roots) can be transferred to seedlings of the scion.

Intergeneric graft hybrids also can be interesting.

Whether you make sexual hybrids or graft hybrids, the most interesting results will come from parents that are very different. For example, it would be interesting to graft a Chili de Arbol to a bell pepper or pimiento type to see if you could get a medium hot variety with larger fruit that don't cause tummy distress. A lady friend from Veracruz once told me that while she was pregnant Chili de Arbol was about the only food she could keep down.

A report to the 26th International Horticultural Congress (Toronto, Canada. August 2002):
Yutaka Hirata*, Shingo Ogata, Natsuko Maruyama, Janos Taller, Noboru Yagishita Tokyo Univ., of Agriculture, and Technology, Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan, 183-8509

Graft-induced genetic changes have been obtained in some crops, such as pepper, eggplant, tomato, tobacco, soybean and mulberry in Japan. We have maintained graft hybrid lines, derived from the scion hot pepper grafted onto sweet pepper, for about 50 generations and characterized them by genetic and molecular analysis. In order to make clear the mechanism and applicability to breeding, we have conducted additional molecular analysis on the graft hybrid in pepper. At the first step, seventeen specific RAPD markers were obtained for the graft hybrid line and both parents. Those markers were co-dominantly controlled. One dCAPS marker was also useful for classification and selection. One graft hybrid specific RFLP marker was observed by Southern blot using atp9 probe, showing an existence of interesting cytoplasmic variation by grafting. Comparison of the one specific RAPD marker (770bp) for graft hybrid and stock which is different from that of scion (700bp) showed a high homology (97.3% in case of 770bp fragment) between graft hybrid and stock material. In another case, specific fragment for scion and graft hybrid includes retrotransposon-like sequence of tomato (69.3% homology between tomato gypsy retro and 704bp fragment), suggesting the reverse transcriptic gene introduction. The results obtained from genetic analysis and molecular evidence supports the existence of gene transfer from stock to scion. This new finding will contribute to a new gene introduction approach for distantly-related species and genera by grafting or cell-to-cell interaction.

And a couple more reports:

Taller, J., et al. (1999) Graft-induced variants as a source of novel characteristics in the breeding of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) Euphytica 108 (2): 73-78.

Taller, J., Y. Hirata, et al. (1998). Graft-induced genetic changes and the inheritance of several characteristics in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics 97(5-6): 705-713.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tomato Graft Hybrids

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 1:58PM
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High_Plains_Drifter(z9 sun15 CA)

"Here's a link that might be useful: Tomato Graft Hybrids"

Lamarkian bullsh*t! I hate to burst your bubble, but the research you linked is from the Soviet Union.

Here's what the ag schmucks from the evil Soviet Union thought:

Political Tradition Must Reflect Scientific Reality

"In 1927, an agricultural researcher in the newly formed Soviet Union by the name of Trofim Denisovich Lysenko developed the idea that agricultural output could be improved because "it is possible with man's intervention to force any form of plant or animal to change more quickly and in a direction desirable to man." His belief was based on a theory of evolution by acquired characteristics, which argued that organisms evolved through the acquisition of traits that they needed and used. This theory had first been developed by the French anatomist Jean Baptiste Lamarck in the early 1800's to explain such things as why giraffes had long necks. By stretching its neck to get leaves, a giraffe actually made its neck longer throughout its life. This longer neck was then somehow passed on to the giraffe's children, who continued the process, as did their offspring, and so on into subsequent generations. The long-necked giraffe of today, by this theory, resulted from generation after generation of giraffe's stretching their necks to reach higher into trees for food.

Lysenko had observed that pea seeds would germinate faster if they were maintained at low temperatures, and concluded that the seeds had been forced by the low temperature to become spring plants. Instead of concluding that the ability to respond flexibly to temperature was a natural characteristic of peas, he concluded that the essential nature and abilities of the peas had been changed through human action.

Unfortunately, Lysenko's theory ignored the basic truth that Lamark's theory of evolution by acquired characteristics was completely wrong. With the discovery that an individual's traits are, for the most part, determined by an inherited blueprint (later shown to be coded for in the DNA of each cell) and are not influenced in any meaningful way by use or disuse, the theory of evolution by acquired characteristics was disproved and rightfully relegated to the scientific ash heap."

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 1:19AM
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keking(z6 TN)

Cold war propaganda!

First of all, Lamarck never claimed that environmentally induced modifications are directly inherited. The creationist Cuvier parodied Lamarck's idea of evolution, and many Darwinists let the criticism stand. Eventually Huxley read Lamarck for himself and concluded that he should not be dismissed.

Consider two populations. One stretches for one reason or another, the other does not. In which population would random gene mutations favoring long necks be favored? Simply stated, changes in the behavior of an animal will alter the selective pressures exerted on its heredity.

This nonsense about the inheritance of acquired characters needs to stop. Lamarck stated very clearly that "whatever the environment may do, it does not work any direct modification whatever in the shape and organisation of animals."

Iarovization is not about making seeds germinate faster. Critics who have not bothered to study the matter closely have confused two distinct subjects.

1) Seeds, tubers, bulbs, etc. contain nutrients in the form of relatively insoluble starches, phytates and proteins. These are not available to the seedling or shoot until they are digested by appropriate enzymes. Iarovization is a pre-treatment that encourages the activity of the digestive enzymes while keeping the embryo or bud dormant. Thus, when the shoot emerges it has a ready supply of soluble nutrients, and is able to grow almost as fast as its cells can divide. The plants get off to a faster start, grow larger and either flower earlier or give a higher yield. Here is a recent study that is not Russian, so your prejudice will not be offended.

"The time required for shoot emergence and flowering decreased as bulb vernalization duration increased. More than four weeks of cold treatment were required for early shoot emergence and flowering, 100% flowering, and an increased number of flowers."
Lee, J., Kim, Young A. and Wang, H. 1996. The effect of bulb vernalization on the growth and flowering of Asiatic hybrid lily. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 414:229-234

2) The conversion of winter wheat to spring varieties was an exercise in selective breeding. A quantity of seed was divided into several lots that were chilled for different periods. Some batches completed their growth and flowered. These were of no further use. Other batches failed to germinate. These too were of no use. Among the several groups was one that gave partial generation and a relative few plants that were able to complete their growth and produce seeds. These were the foundation of a new strain with reduced chilling requirement.

Neither of these techniques has anything to do with the imaginary theory of inheritance of acquired characteristics.

Check out this non-Soviet article about floral induction in Arabidopsis.

Cell. 107: 525-535. (November 16, 2001)
The VERNALIZATION 2 Gene Mediates the Epigenetic Regulation of Vernalization in Arabidopsis, by Anthony R. Gendall, Yaron Y. Levy, Allison Wilson, and Caroline Dean. Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre.

"Genetic studies of the transition to flowering in the model plant Arabidopsis have revealed four major floral promotion pathways. The photoperiod and vernalization pathways integrate environmental signals into the flowering decision, while the autonomous and gibberellin (GA) pathways appear to act largely independently of external cues. These pathways form a quantitative network that regulates the timing of the transition from a vegetative to reproductive phase of development."

By selecting against the vernalization pathway, as Avakian did with wheat, the other pathways would remain available. Selection would determine which of these would predominate in the developing strain.

How is Lamarck involved in any of this?

There is an important chapter in the debate that is commonly ignored in textbooks. Eugenics. In the UK and US, anyone who pretended to be scientific in anything was probably a supporter of the Eugenics movement.

The basic principle of Eugenics, for those who just tuned in, is that "The Poor" have a moral responsibility to remain celibate to avoid producing offspring to inconvenience the upper classes. It's a nasty idea, but the neo-Darwinists were generally in favor of it and condemned as "unscientific" the Michurinists who disagreed. Lysenko, Gluschenko and others were outspoken in their condemnation of racism, apartheid and eugenics.

Getting back to the original subject, much of the current research in graft hybridization is being done in Japan.

Taller, J., Y. Hirata, et al. (1998). Graft-induced genetic changes and the inheritance of several characteristics in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). Theoretical and Applied Genetics 97(5-6): 705-713.

Taller, J. (1999) Graft-induced variants as a source of novel characteristics in the breeding of pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) Euphytica 108 (2): 73-78.

Hirata, Y., S. Ogata, N. Maruyama, J. Taller, N. Yagashita. Molecular mechanism of graft transformation in red pepper (Capsicum anuum L.) XXVIth International Horticultural Congress, Toronto, Canada. Aug 11-17, 2002.

For more information on Lysenko's "discredited" theory of phasic development, do a web search on the phrase "phasic development".

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 10:39PM
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Arg! This thread is about hybridizing peppers.

Would someone please contribute some useful information about hybridizing peppers. Some successful procedures, especially some simplified methods for folks who happened to inherit fat fumbly fingers, would be appreciated.

Regards, Bill, who gave up on arguing social theories long ago since everyone must by now be aware of the validity of the Theory of the Evolution of Theories. (Change Is.)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2005 at 11:48AM
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membertom(zone 6)

Hello Bill,
I don't have any pictures to link to, but I can tell you what has worked for me.
As far as fumbly fingers goes, I have forceps/tweezers with very fine tips that work a whole lot better than my fingers alone.
But I have used just my fingers, and [clumsily] pulled the five anthers off of a recently opened pepper flower [that you want to be the seed parent]. Ideally the anthers [male parts] should still be plump, full and un-bursted, so that no self-pollination has occurred. The flower with anthers removed should still have a little rod-like projection sticking out from the end of the little immature pepper. This is the pistil, which is the female part. Now you can look for a pepper flower on the plant you want to be the pollen parent. Try to find one with pollen already releasing from its anthers. I just wiggle my finger tip a little, under that flower, to dust a little pollen on my fingertip. It's usually pretty easy to see, as a white powder. Then rub the tip of pistil of the previously prepared flower through the pollen on your fingertip. Now all you have to do is wait until seeds have formed. If all went well, these seeds will grow hybrid plants.
If you aren't so worried about all of your seeds being hybrid, you can just do the transfer of pollen without removing the anthers from the female parent. You should still get quite a few hybrids among the self-pollinated seeds.
Hope this encourages you to try it out. It's really not as hard as many people think. Try it, you'll see.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 7:23AM
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Thank you, Tom!

I've fumbled around this summer with some tomato flowers, but it remains to be seen exactly how successful I've been.

I try a few peppers for good measure.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 2:14PM
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