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Abstract Detail


Bohs, Lynn [1], Dean, Ellen [2], Barboza, Gloria Estela [3], Van Deynze, Allen [4], Knapp, Sandra [5], Stoffel, Kevin [4], Hulse-Kemp, Amanda [4], Walden, Genevieve [6], Spalink, Daniel [7].

Getting to the roots of pungency: the taxonomy and phylogeny of Lycianthes and Capsicum (Capsiceae, Solanaceae).

One of the major clades in the Solanaceae is the Capsiceae, consisting of the genera Capsicum and Lycianthes. Capsicum, with about 35 exclusively Neotropical species, includes the chili and bell peppers and their relatives. Capsicum is unique in that the fruits of most species contain pungent capsaicinoids that deter predation by mammals and reduce microbial attack while permitting dispersal by birds. Capsaicinoids are known only from the genus Capsicum, and their evolution, biosynthesis, genetic control, and ecological significance are of great biological and practical importance. Lycianthes contains 150 to 200 species, about 80% of them neotropical and 20% from tropical Asia and the Pacific. Lycianthes fruits lack capsaicinoids and various species are eaten by humans as wild food sources. Morphologically, Capsicum and Lycianthes share an unusual calyx structure but are differentiated by nectary and anther structure. Capsicum anthers open by longitudinal slits, as do most other Solanaceae, and the flowers have a nectary at the base of the ovary. Lycianthes anthers open by terminal pores and the flowers lack a nectary. We constucted a phylogeny based on a four-gene dataset to investigate the roots of pungency in the Capsiceae and the relationship between Lycianthes and Capsicum. Capsicum forms a well-supported monophyletic group and Lycianthes is paraphyletic, but resolution and support are low in the backbone of the tree. To produce a more definitive phylogeny, we are using exome capture and sequencing to characterize the diversity in orthologous genes across Lycianthes and Capsicum species. During year one of the project, transcriptomes derived from the root and leaf tissue of diverse species from both genera were sequenced. Sequences from approximately 14,000 genes represented in the transcriptomes of three Lycianthes species and one Capsicum species were selected for probe design for exome capture. From this set, about 3000 genes were selected to represent uniform spacing across the genome and genes of interest. In addition to phylogeny reconstruction, this project will produce online species descriptions and taxonomic synonymy for all New World species of the two genera. Species descriptions will be posted on our Solanaceae Source website (

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1 - University Of Wisconsin-Madison, Department Of Botany, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA
2 - UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity, Plant Sciences, Mail Stop 7, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA, 95616, USA
3 - National University of Córdoba, Institute of Biology (IMBIV-CONICET) , Córdoba, Argentina
4 - University of California, Davis, Plant Sciences Department, Davis, CA, 95616, USA
5 - British Museum of Natural History, Life Sciences (Plants) Division, London, UK
6 - UC Davis Center for Plant Diversity, Davis, CA, 95616, USA
7 - University of Utah, Department of Biology, Salt Lake City, UT, USA


Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Systematics
Location: Exhibit Hall/Omni Hotel
Date: Monday, June 26th, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 6:15 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PSY004
Abstract ID:157
Candidate for Awards:None

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