Genetic Resources of Phaseolus Beans

Volume 6 of the series Current Plant Science and Biotechnology in Agriculture pp 163-184

The Wild Relative of Phaseolus Vulgaris in Middle America

  • A. Delgado Salinas
  • , A. Bonet
  • , P. Gepts

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The wild relatives of crop plants constitute the raw material from which present day cultivars have been derived. A better knowledge of these wild relatives should provide us with a better understanding of the characteristics, potentials, and limitations of cultivars. This improved knowledge should extend to several areas, among which morphology, phenology, pests and diseases, symbiotic N2 fixation, distribution and ecology, and genetics. The wild relative of the common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris L., is distributed both in Middle America (Mexico and Central America) and in the Andes of South America. A Middle American wild common bean population was first identified by McBryde (1947) in Guatemala. Since then, additional descriptions of wild common beans in Middle America have been provided by Miranda Colín (1967, 1979) and Gentry (1969). In this chapter, we will review the information available on wild P. vulgaris in Middle America, including recent results on its interactions with seed bruchids. We will also identify potential research areas in the hope of stimulating additional research on these wild bean populations. A description of wild Phaseolus vulgaris in South America is given by Brücher (this volume).