Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Bot. 2019 Nov 27;124(6):917-932. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcy221.

Root and shoot variation in relation to potential intermittent drought adaptation of Mesoamerican wild common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.).

Author information

University of California, Department of Plant Sciences/Mail Stop 1, Section of Crop & Ecosystem Sciences, Davis, CA, USA.
Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura (CENA), Universidade de São Paulo, Piracicaba, SP, Brasil.



Wild crop relatives have been potentially subjected to stresses on an evolutionary time scale prior to domestication. Among these stresses, drought is one of the main factors limiting crop productivity and its impact is likely to increase under current scenarios of global climate change. We sought to determine to what extent wild common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) exhibited adaptation to drought stress, whether this potential adaptation is dependent on the climatic conditions of the location of origin of individual populations, and to what extent domesticated common bean reflects potential drought adaptation.


An extensive and diverse set of wild beans from across Mesoamerica, along with a set of reference Mesoamerican domesticated cultivars, were evaluated for root and shoot traits related to drought adaptation. A water deficit experiment was conducted by growing each genotype in a long transparent tube in greenhouse conditions so that root growth, in addition to shoot growth, could be monitored.


Phenotypic and landscape genomic analyses, based on single-nucleotide polymorphisms, suggested that beans originating from central and north-west Mexico and Oaxaca, in the driest parts of their distribution, produced more biomass and were deeper-rooted. Nevertheless, deeper rooting was correlated with less root biomass production relative to total biomass. Compared with wild types, domesticated types showed a stronger reduction and delay in growth and development in response to drought stress. Specific genomic regions were associated with root depth, biomass productivity and drought response, some of which showed signals of selection and were previously related to productivity and drought tolerance.


The drought tolerance of wild beans consists in its stronger ability, compared with domesticated types, to continue growth in spite of water-limited conditions. This study is the first to relate bean response to drought to environment of origin for a diverse selection of wild beans. It provides information that needs to be corroborated in crosses between wild and domesticated beans to make it applicable to breeding programmes.


Crop wild relative; domestication; ecological genomics; genome-wide association; genotyping by sequencing; georeferencin; local climate adaptation; plant growth; single-nucleotide polymorphism

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center