Utilization of Genetic Resources in the Development of Commericial Bean Cultivars in the U.S.A.

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Abstract

The Western Regional Plant Introduction Station (United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service) maintains a large and diverse collection of Phaseolus vulgaris accessions, catalogued by Plant Inventory (P.I.) numbers. There are hundreds of literature citations going back over several decades describing the evaluation of Plant Introduction and commercial Phaseolus germplasm materials against a wide array of production constraints (Table 1). These constraints include major diseases and insect pests known to affect bean production. In addition, breeders have long searched P.I. accessions for novel horticultural and agronomic characteristics which may be useful in improving commercial cultivars. More recently, increased emphasis has also been placed on identifying sources of resistance to environmental stresses, and genetic variability for physiological processes that contribute to components of yield, and nutritional characteristics.

“The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.” Thomas Jefferson, 1743–1826, Third U.S. President, 1801–1809.