Common bean is grown and consumed principally in developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. It is largely a subsistence crop eaten by its producers and, hence, is underestimated in production and commerce statistics. Common bean is a major source of dietary protein, which complements carbohydrate-rich sources such as rice, maize, and cassava. It is also a rich source of minerals, such as iron and zinc, and certain vitamins. Several large germplasm collections have been established, which contain large amounts of genetic diversity, including the five domesticated Phaseolus species and wild species, as well as an incipient stock collection. The genealogy and genetic diversity of P. vulgaris are among the best known in crop species through the systematic use of molecular markers, from seed proteins and isozymes to simple sequence repeats, and DNA sequences. Common bean exhibits a high level of genetic diversity, compared with other selfing species. A hierarchical organization into gene pools and ecogeographic races has been established. There are over 15 mapping populations that have been established to study the inheritance of agronomic traits in different locations. Most linkage maps have been correlated with the core map established in the BAT93 x Jalo EEP558 cross, which includes several hundreds of markers, including Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms, Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA, Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms, Short Sequence Repeats, Sequence Tagged Sites, and Target Region Amplification Polymorphisms. Over 30 individual genes for disease resistance and some 30 Quantitative Trait Loci for a broad range of agronomic traits have been tagged. Eleven BAC libraries have been developed in genotypes that represent key steps in the evolution before and after domestication of common bean, a unique resource among crops. Fluorescence in situ hybridization provides the first links between chromosomal and genetic maps. A gene index based on some P. vulgaris 21,000 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) has been developed. ESTs were developed from different genotypes, organs, and physiological conditions. They resolve currently in some 6,5006,800 singletons and 2,900 contigs. An additional 20,000 embryonic P. coccineus ESTs provides an additional resource. Some 1,500 M2 Targeting Local Lesions In Genomes populations exist currently. Finally, transformation methods by biolistics and Agrobacterium have been developed, which can be applied for genetic engineering. Root transformation via A. rhizogenes is also possible. Thus, the Phaseomics community has laid a solid foundation towards its ultimate goal, namely the sequencing of the Phaseolus genome. These genomic resources are a much-needed source of additionalmarkers of known map location for marker-assisted selection and the accelerated improvement of common bean cultivars.
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