The Andean gene pool of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) has high levels of morphological diversity in terms of seed color and size, growth habit and agro-ecological adaptation, but previously was characterized by low levels of molecular marker diversity. Three races have been described within the Andean gene pool: Chile, Nueva Granada and Peru. The objective of this study was to characterize a collection of 123 genotypes representing Andean bean diversity with 33 microsatellite markers that have been useful for characterizing race structure in common beans. The genotypes were from both the primary center of origin as well as secondary centers of diversity to which Andean beans spread and represented all three races of the gene pool. In addition we evaluated a collection of landraces from Colombia to determine if the Nueva Granada and Peru races could be distinguished in genotypes from the northern range of the primary center. Multiple correspondence analyses of the Andean race representatives identified two predominant groups corresponding to the Nueva Granada and Peru races. Some of the Chile race representatives formed a separate group but several that had been defined previously as from this race grouped with the other races. Gene flow was more notable between Nueva Granada and Peru races than between these races and the Chile race. Among the Colombian genotypes, the Nueva Granada and Peru races were identified and introgression between these two races was especially notable. The genetic diversity within the Colombian genotypes was high, reaffirming the importance of this region as an important source of germplasm. Results of this study suggest that the morphological classification of all climbing beans as Peru race genotypes and all bush beans as Nueva Granada race genotypes is erroneous and that growth habit traits have been mixed in both races, requiring a re-adjustment in the concept of morphological races in Andean beans.
Theoretical and Applied Genetics (2007) 116 (1) 29-43 [doi: 10.1007/s00122-007-0644-8]