Martin Fennel asked:
What happens when a mild chilli plant gets pollinated with hot chilli pollen?
Kat - It's an interesting question. The misconception is that if you grow two plants close together (a hot one and a cool one) their peppers will be hot on the cool plant. Potentially their seeds could give rise to hot peppers in the next generation because the heat pepper is determined by capsaicin in the genes that make capsaicin. These are actually dominant genes so effectively if you breed a hot plant to a cool plant then the next generation – those seeds will potentially be hotter, yes.
Chris - but the fruits of the plant that are making them, they're just the genes of the plant that's growing the chillies. You've got to do the breeding experiment and grown the next generation.
Kat - Exactly. You have to take the F1 generation and plant them and then you'll get an interesting blend depending on the peppers you've bred together.
Martin Fennell asked the Naked Scientists:
I can't be bothered to read it all, but you may find an answer here or here DoctorBeaver, Fri, 4th Jul 2008