Chile peppers were first domesticated in the area now known as Oaxaca, in eastern Mexico, about 8000 years ago, according to scientists.
Central-east Mexico gave birth to the domesticated chili pepper — now the world’s most widely grown spice crop — reports an international team of researchers, led by a plant scientist at the University of California, Davis.
Results from the four-pronged investigation — based on linguistic and ecological evidence as well as the more traditional archaeological and genetic data — suggest a regional, rather than a geographically specific, birthplace for the domesticated chili pepper.
That region, extending from southern Puebla and northern Oaxaca to southeastern Veracruz, is further south than was previously thought, the researchers found.
The region also is different from areas of origin that have been suggested for common bean and corn, which were presumably domesticated in Western Mexico.
More images and the entire study online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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