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Front Plant Sci. 2013 Jan 22;3:312. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00312. eCollection 2012.

Chloroplast Microsatellite Diversity in Phaseolus vulgaris.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Alimentari ed Ambientali, Università Politecnica delle Marche Ancona, Italy.


Evolutionary studies that are aimed at defining the processes behind the present level and organization of crop genetic diversity represent the fundamental bases for biodiversity conservation and use. A Mesoamerican origin of the common bean Phaseolus vulgaris was recently suggested through analysis of nucleotide polymorphism at the nuclear level. Here, we have used chloroplast microsatellites to investigate the origin of the common bean, on the basis of the specific characteristics of these markers (no recombination, haploid genome, uniparental inheritance), to validate these recent findings. Indeed, comparisons of the results obtained through analysis of nuclear and cytoplasmic DNA should allow the resolution of some of the contrasting information available on the evolutionary processes. The main outcomes of the present study are: (i) confirmation at the chloroplast level of the results obtained through nuclear data, further supporting the Mesoamerican origin of P. vulgaris, with central Mexico representing the cradle of its diversity; (ii) identification of a putative ancestral plastidial genome, which is characteristic of a group of accessions distributed from central Mexico to Peru, but which have not been highlighted beforehand through analyses at the nuclear level. Finally, the present study suggests that when a single species is analyzed, there is the need to take into account the complexity of the relationships between P. vulgaris and its closely related and partially intercrossable species P. coccineus and P. dumosus. Thus, the present study stresses the importance for the investigation of the speciation processes of these taxa through comparisons of both plastidial and nuclear variability. This knowledge will be fundamental not only from an evolutionary point of view, but also to put P. coccineus and P. dumosus germplasm to better use as a source of useful diversity for P. vulgaris breeding.


Phaseolus; cpSSR; crop evolution; introgression; population structure; recombination; speciation

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