Take Two

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by Alex Cohen & A Martínez

New research pinpoints geographic origin of chili pepper

by Take Two

83002 full
PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

New research out of UC Davis traces the family tree of the domesticated chili pepper back to a region of east central Mexico. In modern cuisine around the globe, the chili pepper figures prominently in varieties from sichuan to habanero. But all have a common ancestor cultivated by the ancient peoples of Mexico.

A team of scientists used genetic data, archaeological clues, ecological evidence and a new approach involving linguistic study of ancient languages, to pinpoint the region where the chili likely originated. Lead study author Paul Gepts, a professor of plant sciences at UC Davis, joins the show to explain.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Enjoy Take Two? Try KPCC’s other programs.

What's popular now on KPCC