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Faba bean was first domesticated in the Near East about 10,000 BC. It is now grown worldwide on 2.56 million ha with a yield of 4.56 million tons. The traditional landraces are affected by the different biotic and abiotic stresses. Replacement of these low-yielding landraces by improved cultivars has resulted in a yield increase of 15.4 kg/ha/year over the last 40 years. A reduction of the planted area from 7.5 million ha in 1961 to 2.56 million ha in 2010 and cultivation of improved cultivars are the major causes of genetic erosion. Gene banks around the world conserved more than 36,000 accessions. Diversity studies showed limited variation among currently grown cultivars, but high variation among different botanical groups has been recorded. The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas has undertaken desirable selection and breeding efforts to identify different sources of resistance and to develop improved varieties in collaboration with national agricultural research systems. A molecular approach was used in advanced research institutes to tag major genes/quantitative trait loci with molecular markers. However, more efforts are needed to saturate the genetic maps to facilitate marker-assisted breeding.
- ICARDA