Background and Aims Improved understanding of the secondary gene pools of crops is essential for advancing genetic gain in breeding programmes. Common bean, Phaseolus vulgaris, is a staple crop with several wild relatives in its secondary gene pool. The year-long bean, P. dumosus, an important crop in Guatemala, is considered particularly closely related to P. vulgaris and a potential source of novel variation. However, the genetic diversity and relationship to other Phaseolus species of P. dumosus remain unclear.
Methods We conducted the first comprehensive investigation of P. dumosus genetic diversity using both nuclear and chloroplast genome markers. Our nuclear marker set included over 700 markers present within the Phaseolus DArT (Diversity Arrays Technology) array, which we applied to P. dumosus and other relatives of P. vulgaris (including every secondary gene pool species: P. acutifolius, P. albescens, P. coccineus and P. costaricensis).
Key ResultsPhaseolus dumosus arose from hybridization of P. vulgaris and P. coccineus, followed by at least two later hybridizations with sympatric congener populations. Existing P. dumosus collections have low genetic diversity.
Conclusions The under-utilized crop P. dumosus has a complex hybrid origin. Further sampling in the region in which it arose may uncover additional germplasm for introgressing favourable traits into crops within the P. vulgaris gene pool.