Common Bean: Economic Importance and Relevance to Biological Science Research

  • Myers J
  • Kmiecik K
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Abstract

Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is broadly adapted to environments with moderate growing temperatures, about 400 mm of precipitation and a growing season of 60-120 days. The popularity of the crop originates from the fact that it is relatively easy to produce, it is flavorful and versatile, and it is a good source of nutrition. The two major types of common bean are dry edible beans and snap or garden beans. Precise economic valuation of the common bean crop is difficult to obtain on a global scale because other species are often included in the statistical data collected in different countries, but with production of 18.9 million T for all types, it is the most widely produced grain legume and ranked third after soybean and groundnut for oilseed and grain legumes combined. Common bean is produced in both developed and developing countries and is an important source of protein, carbohydrates, some vitamins, and micronutrients. Common bean first became known to the scientific world with the Columbian exchange beginning in 1493, but little is known about the genetic diversity of the early introductions to Europe. Systematic breeding of common bean began in the nineteenth century in Europe and the USA. Common bean was the subject of Mendel's genetics research, was used by Johannsen to investigate quantitative inheritance, and has the distinction of being the first plant species where a quantitative trait locus was identified. Contemporary research on common bean in the recent past has been conducted in about 21 academic disciplines with plant physiology, medicine, microbiology, and food science, resulting in the most publications. Plant breeding, genetics, plant pathology, and genomics and bioinformatics are generally less well represented, but this may change as more genomics studies are conducted. The special traits of common bean that have driven most research are the seed storage proteins, the symbiotic relationship with rhizobium species, the history of plant domestication, and the architecture of genetic diversity within the species.

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Myers, J. R., & Kmiecik, K. (2017). Common Bean: Economic Importance and Relevance to Biological Science Research (pp. 1–20). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63526-2_1

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