Phenotypic Diversity in Lima Bean Landraces Cultivated in Brazil, Using The Ward-MLM Strategy
Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.) is an important source of protein for people as it contributes all of the essential amino acids necessary for humans. In Brazil, lima bean has a great relevance, mainly in the Northeast, where it is an alternative income in addition to a food source. It has a high degree of phenotypic variation for seed traits, which are important for understanding the genetic diversity and origin of this crop. We aimed to characterize 166 accessions of cultivated lima bean from Brazil using qualitative and quantitative descriptors through the Ward- MLM (Modified Location Model) in order to analize the organization of the genetic diversity and the origin of this germplasm. High genetic variability was detected and seed length and width characteristics were the main contributors to genetic divergence among the accessions. Results showed the presence of accessions with characteristics typical of the Mesoamerican and Andean gene pools, and another group with intermediate characteristics of these two gene pools. Our results will be useful to breeding programs, since currently there is little information on the genetic diversity and the origin of the lima bean landraces
cultivated in Brazil.