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A Milestone for Common Bean Improvement

An early release of the common bean genome sequence, developed by a consortium of U.S. universities, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, and scientists from the Department of Energy, is now available online. Common bean is a warm-season, annual legume and an important crop under Feed the Future.

The sequence, consisting of more than 26,000 genes, allows researchers to study individual genes that provide tolerance to drought and diseases that devastate commonbean yield, and will be a major tool to improve crops. Scientists in the United States and elsewhere can use the sequence information to develop molecular tools to accelerate common bean breeding efforts. 

In collaboration with international partners such as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research and scientists in Africa, Central and South America, and India, the consortium is collaboratively working to leverage this major investment, made possible with funding from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Energy. The goal is to help protect and increase common bean productivity in regions of the world where the crop is an important source of calories and nutrients. 

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