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New bean germplasm for adaptation to high-temperature conditions in Central America

In the research process, the validation of new genetic materials will involve undergraduate and master’s students in Sustainable Tropical Agriculture (MATS).

The Bean Research Program (PIF) of Zamorano University in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), will begin to evaluate new genetic materials of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) tolerant to high temperatures, derived from interspecific crosses with “wild type” (WT) relatives, mainly the tepari bean (Phaseolus acutifolius A. Gray) species native to the arid zones of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

According to Dr. Juan Carlos Rosas, Zamorano Research Director, in recent years CIAT has worked on the development of techniques to facilitate the transfer of genes from the tepari bean to the common bean, with which genetic materials have been generated that will be evaluated from 2020 for their adaptation to high temperature conditions in Central America, Colombia and Mozambique (Africa). Evaluations of bean tolerance to high temperatures in Honduras are conducted by the PIF/Zamorano at the Luis Landa Agricultural School in Nacaome, Valle, a locality with high day and night temperatures favorable for the evaluation and selection of heat-tolerant bean germplasm.

In this stage of genetic improvement, wild type relatives of common beans are being used to improve bean adaptation in areas affected by temperature increases, such as the Dry Corridor of the Central American Pacific slope, where tolerant varieties are required to continue bean production, a very important component of the daily diet in rural and urban areas. These new breeding techniques will reinforce previous advances in adapting bean varieties to high temperature conditions, including the released varieties CENTA Pipil and CENTA EAC in El Salvador and Rojo Chortí in Honduras.

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The PIF/Zamorano has collaborated in recent decades with researchers from Central America and the Caribbean, and since 2002 coordinates the Bean Network established by the national research programs of the region. This network facilitates access to improved materials with desirable agronomic and commercial characteristics so that countries can carry out validations on farmers’ farms that allow the release of varieties and access to small farmers. Since its creation in 1988, the PIF has worked to develop bean varieties that adapt to conditions of drought stress and temperature increases caused by the effects of climate change. Collaboration with CIAT includes the generation and development of bean germplasm with adaptation to drought and high temperatures, disease resistance and higher nutritional value (iron and zinc).

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