Common Bean

  • Anju Pathania
  • Surinder Kumar Sharma
  • Prem Nath Sharma


The chapter on the common bean reviews the origin and domestication, gene pool organization and their evolutionary relationship, genetic diversity and gene flow assessment, production constraints, crop production-limiting factors, and crop improvement strategies. While the common bean originated in the Americas, it is now widely grown in all continents of the world. Several bean germplasm banks have been established and contain diverse genetic resources comprising five domesticated and wild Phaseolus species, as well as an incipient stock collection. Unique among crop plants, the common bean consists of two geographically distinct evolutionary lineages that predate domestication and trace back to a common, still extant ancestor. The common bean cultivated across the world comprises of two major gene pools: the Andean originating from the Andes mountains of South America and the Mesoamerican from Mexico and Central America along with well-established races. Gene flow between domesticated and wild beans led to substantial introgression of alleles from the domesticated gene pool into the wild gene pool and vice versa. Like other crops, the common bean also suffers from various biotic and abiotic stresses; however, these constraints vary with the agroecological regions experiencing tropical to temperate environments. The important biotic and abiotic constraints limiting bean production are bean anthracnose, angular leaf spot, bean common mosaic and necrosis virus, bean golden mosaic virus, bacterial blights, drought, and phosphorus deficiency. The common bean improvement program in Europe and the USA is mainly focused on biotic and abiotic factors, mainly diseases, drought, and biofortification involving intra- and interspecific hybridization programs. Various breeding methods, namely, recurrent backcrossing, congruity backcrossing, inbred backcross line and gamete selection using multiple-parent crosses, and recurrent selection, have been used to transfer the trait of interest from related species. Resistance to various diseases has been transferred from P. coccineus, P. acutifolius, P. costaricensis to Phaseolus vulgaris. In addition, P. acutifolius and P. parvifolius have been explored to transfer high iron content to P. vulgaris. The crop improvement program over the last two decades involves the use of a marker-assisted selection strategy as a number of useful genes vis-à-vis molecular markers linked to them have been identified. In addition, bean transformation protocols have also been developed to facilitate introgression of alien genes. The sequencing of whole common bean genome is going to open an era of functional genomics to understand, identify, and overcome the constraints experienced by researchers across the world.


Gene Pool Common Bean Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Marker Angular Leaf Spot Common Bacterial Blight 


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Copyright information

© Springer India 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anju Pathania
    • 1
  • Surinder Kumar Sharma
    • 1
  • Prem Nath Sharma
    • 2
  1. 1.Mountain Agriculture Research and Extension Centre SanglaKinnaurIndia
  2. 2.Department of Plant Pathology, CSKHimachal Pradesh Agricutlural UniversityPalampurIndia

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