Are you ready for a vanilla dessert chile pepper? How about pepper plants with leaves and stems as brilliantly colored (and maybe even as spicy) as their spectacular fruits?
Nobody has to tell those of us in the Chile Capital of the World that our favorite pepper is something special.
But mapping the entire genome of the chile pepper has brought us new information about just how unique chiles are, along with some exciting new potentials, Paul Bosland reported at the Chile Pepper Institute's 2013 New Mexico Chile Leaders Dinner, Monday at Stan Fulton Center.
"This puts NMSU and the Chile Pepper Institute on the cutting edge with a new level of research," said Bosland, a New Mexico State University Regents professor and director of the Chile Pepper Institute.
It might even be argued that chiles are more sophisticated and complex than the humans who eat them.
"We've now determined that the chile pepper has approximately 3.5 billion base pairs, which are the building blocks that make up the DNA double helix, compared to tomatoes which have about 950 million (homo sapiens have about 3 billion). The Human Genome Project determined we have about 20,000 genes. Chile peppers have about 37,000 genes.