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This article in CS

  1. Vol. 44 No. 3, p. 968-977
    Received: July 9, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): plgepts@ucdavis.edu


The Genetic Anatomy of a Patented Yellow Bean

  1. L. Pallottinia,
  2. E. Garciab,
  3. J. Kamic,
  4. G. Barcacciaa and
  5. P. Gepts *c
  1. a Department of Agronomy and Crop Science, University of Padova, Agripolis, Via Romea 16, 35020 Legnaro, PD, Italy
    b Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8598, USA
    c Department of Agronomy and Range Science, University of California, 1 Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616-8515, USA


Since a 1980 Supreme Court decision, it is possible in the USA to obtain a utility patent for crop cultivars and other life forms. Furthermore, it is also possible to obtain Plant Variety Protection (PVP) for a cultivar. Among the awards of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the USDA Plant PVP Office are a utility patent and a PVP certificate, respectively, associated with a yellow-seeded bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), specifically the cultivar Enola. These awards have been controversial because of, among several reasons, the perceived lack of novelty of the yellow seed color and the cultivar itself. To check the origin of Enola, we fingerprinted a representative sample of 56 domesticated common bean accessions, including a subsample of 24 cultivars with yellow seeds similar to those of Enola. Fingerprinting was accomplished with amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP). Five EcoRI/MseI and five PstI/MseI primer combinations were used, which revealed 133 fragments. The PstI/MseI primer combinations revealed a 3-fold larger number of polymorphic markers than the EcoRI/MseI primer combinations. Most yellow-seeded beans, including Enola, were included in a tightly knit subgroup of the Andean gene pool. Enola was most closely related to the pre-existing Mexican cultivar Azufrado Peruano 87. A sample of 16 individuals of Enola displayed a single 133-AFLP-fragment fingerprint, which was identical to a fingerprint observed among yellow-seeded beans from Mexico, including Azufrado Peruano 87. Probability calculations of matching the specific Enola fingerprint showed that the most likely origin of Enola is by direct selection within pre-existing yellow-bean cultivars from Mexico, most probably ‘Azufrado Peruano 87’.

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Copyright © 2004. Crop Science Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of America