Improvement of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) for regional food systems in the northeastern United States

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Dry common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is an important but underutilized staple crop for regional food systems in the Northeastern United States. Plant breeding can help to develop improved varieties that meet regional farmer needs while providing a compelling product for modern consumers. One strategy is the expansion of disease resistance and improved agronomic performance to non-commodity, heirloom-like market classes that hold potential for increased consumer engagement and higher grower returns. To this end, Chapter II describes efforts to combine important disease resistance for three major pathogens in the northeastern United States as well as favorable agronomic traits such as yield and upright growth habit into two heirloom varieties with unique seed coat phenotypes, using a marker-assisted selection model. The four targeted diseases were common bacterial blight, caused by Xanthamonas campestris pv. phaseoli, anthracnose, caused by Colletotrichum lindemuthianum, and Bean common mosaic virus. In the interest of future food security, in the Northeast and elsewhere, access to genetically diverse germplasm with locally or regionally adaptive traits is crucial. Decentralized networks of seed savers and regional seed companies in North America are an underutilized resource for important and useful genetic material. Chapter III analyzes genotypic and phenotypic diversity of 18 seed sources of ‘Jacob’s Cattle’ dry bean across seed saver networks. Significant genotypic and phenotypic divergence was identified, indicating that North American seed saver networks are a significant repository of in-situ germplasm conservation.

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148 pages


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edible bean; genetic diversity; organic plant breeding; regional adaptation; regional food systems


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Union Local


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Mazourek, Michael

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Smart, Christine
Smith, Margaret

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Plant Breeding

Degree Name

M.S., Plant Breeding

Degree Level

Master of Science

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Government Document




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Attribution 4.0 International


dissertation or thesis

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