Genetic material from dozens of samples of farm-raised and wild chili peppers seemed to point to northeastern Mexico as the origin of domestication for C. annuum, the researchers found. But the scientists also looked at archaeological evidence for the peppers and ecological predictions of where the plant might have grown in climates of the past. They even looked at which ancient vocabularies included words for chili peppers. When these factors were taken into consideration, the birthplace of chili agriculture shifted farther south, to Mexico’s central-east region.
Story: Megan Gannon, Live Science | Photo: Shutterstock