Germplasm banks store genotype samples, improved varieties, landraces and wild species, all generically denominated accessions. The importance of characterizing germplasm banks is based on the identification and knowledge of relevant traits for genetic improvement and ex situ germplasm conservation. Thus, the present study had as aim the evaluation of the genetic diversity among 220 accessions of a Brazilian common bean germplasm bank of the "Instituto Agronômico de Campinas" (IAC) by means of 23 morpho-agronomical descriptors and 19 RAPD loci. These accessions correspond to genotypes from the Andean and Middle American gene pool as well as from cultivars derived from common bean improvement programs. The Middle American accessions and the improved cultivars were clustered into one group, distinct from the one formed by the Andean accessions. In relation to the molecular data, 47% of the genetic similarity was detected among the Middle American accessions, and similar results were observed for the improved cultivars (50%). The Andean accessions revealed 60% of genetic similarity. The cluster constituted by the improved cultivars and the Middle American genotypes differed, basically, in tegument color. Both molecular and morpho-agronomical data sets were equally effective to quantify and organize the genetic diversity of common bean accessions. This information may be useful to direct crosses and for the proper organization of the IAC germplasm bank.
Phaseolus vulgaris; germplasm bank; botanical descriptors; multivariate analyses