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Crop Biotech Update

Researchers Identify Characteristics Improving Bean's Resistance to Drought

July 13, 2016

Researchers from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia have identified drought-resistant genotypes and the morpho-physiological characteristics that make beans resistant to drought. The study revealed that a strategic combination of characteristics is the key to success in genetic improvement of drought resistance in bean.

After evaluating 36 advanced bean lines, drought-resistant beans were classified into two groups: water "savers" and "spenders".

The "water savers" have characteristics which allow them to save water: less opening of the stomas, small leaves, moderate growth, and efficiency in remobilizing carbon from the leaves and stems to the formation of sheath and grain. These genotypes are suitable for cultivation in semi-arid regions, as can be found in areas of Central America, Africa, and the south of Mexico.

The "water spenders," however, have deep roots for water extraction, allowing them to grow more, combined with an efficient remobilization of their reserves through the stems and leaves, to the formation of sheath and grains, thus producing more grain even under stressful drought conditions. These beans are appropriate for areas with intermittent droughts, such as Central America, South America, and Africa.

For more information, read the news release at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona website.