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Title: Genetic Diversity and Population Structure of Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) Landraces in the Lazio Region of Italy
Authors: Catarcione, Giulio
Paolacci, Anna Rita
alicandri, enrica 
Gramiccia, Elena
Taviani, Paola
Rea, Roberto
Costanza, Maria Teresa
De Lorenzis, Gabriella
Puccio, Guglielmo
Mercati, Francesco
Ciaffi, Mario 
Journal: PLANTS 
Issue Date: 2023
Common bean cultivation has historically been a typical component of rural economies in Italy, particularly in mountainous and hilly zones along the Apennine ridge of the central and southern regions, where the production is focused on local landraces cultivated by small-scale farmers using low-input production systems. Such landraces are at risk of genetic erosion because of the recent socioeconomic changes in rural communities. One hundred fourteen accessions belonging to 66 landraces still being grown in the Lazio region were characterized using a multidisciplinary approach. This approach included morphological (seed traits), biochemical (phaseolin and phytohemagglutinin patterns), and molecular (microsatellite loci) analyses to investigate their genetic variation, structure, and distinctiveness, which will be essential for the implementation of adequate ex situ and in situ conservation strategies. Another objective of this study was to determine the original gene pool (Andean and Mesoamerican) of the investigated landraces and to evaluate the cross-hybridization events between the two ancestral gene pools in the P. vulgaris germplasm in the Lazio region. Molecular analyses on 456 samples (four for each of the 114 accessions) revealed that the P. vulgaris germplasm in the Lazio region exhibited a high level of genetic diversity (He = 0.622) and that the Mesoamerican and Andean gene pools were clearly differentiated, with the Andean gene pool prevailing (77%) and 12% of landraces representing putative hybrids between the two gene pools. A model-based cluster analysis based on the molecular markers highlighted three main groups in agreement with the phaseolin patterns and growth habit of landraces. The combined utilisation of morphological, biochemical, and molecular data allowed for the differentiation of all landraces and the resolution of certain instances of homonymy and synonymy. Furthermore, although a high level of homozygosity was found across all landraces, 32 of the 66 examined (49%) exhibited genetic variability, indicating that the analysis based on a single or few plants per landrace, as usually carried out, may provide incomplete information.
ISSN: 2223-7747
DOI: 10.3390/plants12040744
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