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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 41 No. 6, p. 1659-1675
    Received: Jan 20, 2001

    * Corresponding author(s): singh@kimberly.uidaho.edu
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Broadening the Genetic Base of Common Bean Cultivars

  1. Shree P. Singh *
  1. Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences, Univ. of Idaho, 3793 North 3600 East, Kimberly, ID 83341-5076


Knowledge, access, and use of diversity available in cultivated and wild relatives are essential for broadening the genetic base of cultivars to sustain improvement. My objectives are to review briefly the origin, domestication, and organization of genetic diversity in Phaseolus beans, highlight production problems and traits deficient in the common bean (P. vulgaris L.) cultivars, cite sources of useful gemplasm, and review progress achieved in broadening the genetic base of cultivars. Phaseolus beans originated in the Americas. Only five species, P. acutifolius A. Gray, P. coccineus L., P. lunatus L., P. polyanthus Greenman, and P. vulgaris L. were domesticated. The interspecies diversity in relation to common bean is organized in primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary gene pools. Intraspecies diversity in common bean is separated into two major gene pools (Andean and Middle American). Cultivars are further divided into races, each with their distinguishing characteristics. Also, cultivars of dry seed and snap bean exist. Abiotic and biotic stresses limit common bean production. The genetic base of cultivars within market classes is narrow and inadequate level of resistance to common bacterial blight [caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. phaseoli (Smith) Dye] and white mold [caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum (Lib) de Bary] exist in cultivars. High levels of resistance to these and other desirable traits exist in the relatives and gene pools of P. vulgaris Early maturity, adaptation to higher latitude, upright plant type, high pod quality and seed yield, and resistance to Bean common mosaic virus (a potyvirus) and/or rust [caused by Uromyces appendiculatus (Pers.:Pers.) Unger] have been bred into cultivars. However, most of the genetic variability available in the common bean races, gene pools, and wild relatives remains to be utilized. To maximize and sustain bean production, high yielding, high quality cultivars that are less dependent on water, fertilizer, pesticides, and manual labor should be developed. This need warrants sustained, comprehensive, and integrated genetic improvement, in which favorable alleles from cultivated and wild relatives are accumulated in superior cultivars. A three-tiered breeding approach involving: (i) gene introgression from alien germplasm, (ii) pyramiding favorable alleles from different sources, and (iii) simultaneous improvement of multiple traits for common bean cultivars would be the most appropriate strategies to meet theses needs.

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Copyright © 2001. Crop Science Society of AmericaPublished in Crop Sci.41:1659–1675.