The Origins Of The Domesticated Chili Pepper

The domesticated chili pepper is the most widely grown spice crop in the world. A team of researchers at the University of California Davis has discovered the origin of that pepper.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Researchers believe they've discovered the origin of another pepper: The domesticated chili pepper, now the most widely grown spice crop in the world.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The birthplace of the world's favorite spice is a fertile valley in East Central Mexico, between Oaxaca and Veracruz, not in the northeastern part of the country as previously thought.

MCEVERS: The Sacramento Bee reports the project conducted at the University of California, Davis was pretty complex. They used archaeology, genetics...

GREENE: ...and language. They even examined the earliest words used for cultivated chilies. The researchers say understanding the way this plant was domesticated, might help them understand how to domestic and wild plants and animal species into the future.

Spicing it up on MORNING EDITION on NPR News. I'm David Greene.

MCEVERS: Aye, I'm Kelly McEvers.

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