National Research Council of Italy

Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources

European Common Bean

Lioi L, Piergiovanni AR

In: "Genetic and Genomic Resources of Grain Legume Improvement" (Singh M, Upadhyaya HD, Bisht IS eds), Elsevier, UK, pp. 11-40.
doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-397935-3.00002-5

In this chapter, we lead the reader through several topics related to common bean germplasm, including crop dissemination across the Old World, landraces developed by farmers, characterization and safeguard of germplasm. These topics are attracting a great deal of attention, especially in recent years, when the international community has become increasingly aware of the relevance of safeguarding plant genetic resources. Early studies were mainly aimed at performing exploratory analyses of agro-morphological traits, with the goal of improving yield and pest resistance. Moreover, phaseolin variation was studied to check the distribution of the two common bean gene pools. The recent development of DNA-based markers has allowed significant improvement in knowledge on genetic variation within the European germplasm, as well as the capacity to trace its divergence from the American germplasm. The different strategies applied to safeguard the European germplasm are described together with their drawbacks.

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