What happens when a mild chilli plant is pollinated with hot chilli pollen?

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Martin Fennell

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Martin Fennell asked the Naked Scientists:


I have a number of chilli plants growing on my work windowsill. As I pollinate them (there are no bees in the office) I got to wondering. "If I take pollen from a hot variety of chilli and pollinate a milder variety, does the genetic information for the heat pass into the fruit of this generation or only into the seeds?"

"Does it make a difference if the pollen comes from a mild variety and is used to pollinate a hotter variety?"



What do you think?
« Last Edit: 06/07/2008 12:26:09 by chris »


Offline DoctorBeaver

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I can't be bothered to read it all, but you may find an answer here or here
« Last Edit: 04/07/2008 17:11:07 by DoctorBeaver »
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Offline chris

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Hi Martin

great question, and I have to confess that I have (attempted) to do some windowsill pollination to promote domestic chilli production, though admittedly with little success!

However, pollination is plant sex and this means mixing genes from one plant with those from another. The resulting progeny will therefore be hybrids - mixtures - of the two, and the phenotype - the appearance - of the daughter plants will be dictated by which of the inherited genes are dominant.

I don't know whether hotness (which is determined by the amount of the chemical capsaicin present in the fruit) is a dominant feature or not. What is definitely the case, however, is that this is one tasty experiment that is well worth pursuing I'd say!

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception - Groucho Marx