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Induced mutants in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), and their potential use in nutrition quality breeding and gene discovery

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Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is the most widely grown grain legume for human consumption and a major protein and mineral source in East Africa and Latin America. It is also a simple diploid species with a small genome (650 Mb). Despite its nutritional and economic importance and tractable genome, P. vulgaris has a paucity of mutant resources compared to other crops, making it difficult to perform genetic screening in the species. In this review we discuss recent studies on mutagenesis that aim to produce large-scale, mutagenized populations for generalized trait screening, as well as previous EMS (ethyl methane sulfonate) and gamma radiation mutants that were developed for biological nitrogen fixation or plant morphology traits. Mutant stocks in this crop will allow researchers to conduct both forward (systematic phenotypic screening) and reverse genetics (such as TILLING, or Targeting Induced Local Lesions In Genomes) experiments aimed at understanding the genes involved in various traits, including abiotic and biotic stress tolerance, grain quality, and nutritional value, as well as genes involved in symbiosis with Rhizobia. Thus, mutant stocks will be important for gene discovery and creating novel variability. In this review, we highlight applications of mutation breeding for nutritional quality improvement of common bean, giving examples of seed protein, mineral content, and tannin accumulation traits.

Affiliations: 1: Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT) ; 2: USDA-ARS-Tropical Agriculture Research Station (TARS) ; 3: USDA-ARS ; 4: University of Geneva


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