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Marker assisted pyramiding genes conferring resistance against major bacterial and fungal diseases into popular common bean varieties (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) with food and market value for Ethiopia

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Dr Yayis Rezene overseeing the on-farm variety verification trials (VVT) for advanced breeding lines resistant to angular leaf spot (ALS) and common bacterial blight (CBB). Gofa, Ethoipia, 2022.




Common bean is the principal food and nutrition security legume crop in Ethiopia, providing dietary protein and a source of cash income for resource-poor farmers Angular leaf spot (ALS), common bacterial blight (CBB) and anthracnose (ANT) are the most economically important diseases of common bean in the country.

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The SARI team members, left to right: Mr Tukie, Dr Rezene, Ms Firew and Ms Tadesse, 2021.


  1. Enhancing the trait performance of common bean varieties by combining and assembling two or more complementary genes against major fungal and bacterial diseases of common bean in Ethiopia.

  2. Characterise pathogenic, genetic variability and geographic distribution of major foliar fungal (ANT) and bacterial (HB) pathogens in Ethiopia and identify new sources of resistance to use in the breeding program.

  3. Capacity building and training scientist with modern molecular techniques.

Progress to date

  1. Advanced backcross lines with Redwolaita (17 backcrossed lines) from the Mesoamerican genepool & Ibado (20 backcrossed lines) background which was developed through MAS in the previous project (phase-I) were evaluated at multiple locations (Awassa, Gofa and Areka). Two bean varieties improved with combined resistance to angular leaf spot (ALS) and common bacterial blight (CBB) have been officially released in 2023. Key Burre, a deep dark mottled seed, was developed to replace the disease susceptible Ibado and Gegebe varieties, while Key Woilata (a small, dark red seed), is set to replace Redwoilata.

  2. Nursery trials of improved multiple disease resistance breeding lines derived from Hawassa Dume (48) and Remeda (68) were carried out to obtain preliminary data under field condition and to obtain sufficient seed for multi-location evaluations.

  3. Pathogen characterisation for major common bean diseases (ALS, CBB, & ANT) were studied with isolates collected from major bean growing areas.

  4. Four postgraduate students supported with KT scholarship grants completed their studies.





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Key Woylata (i); and Key-Burra (ii); the two improved common bean varieties released by the SARI breeding programme; Ms Mihiret Tadesse using the laminar flow hood designed and supplied by KT (iii); the SARI team working in the greenhouse (iv).


Yayis and team
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Dr Yayis Rezene

Principal Investigator, the Southern Agricultural Research institute (SARI), Hawassa, Ethiopia.

Dr Rezene has led the Kirkhouse Trust (KT)-funded common bean improvement programme in Ethiopia since its inception in 2013. A KT PhD scholar, he completed his doctorate in 2018. The title of his thesis project was "Genome Wide Marker Trait Association Study, Molecular Characterization and Pathogenic Variability Among Pseudocercospora griseola (Sacc.) Crous & Braun Isolates, the Causal Agent of Angular Leaf Spot Disease of Common Bean in Ethiopia".

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Mr Musa Tukie

Laboratory technician, molecular breeding

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Ms Mihiret Tadesse Laboratory technician, pathology

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Mr Yisahak Tsegaye,

MSc student, University of Hawassa, Ethiopia


Survey and virulence characterization of the Uromyces appendiculatus, the cause of common bean rust, in major bean growing areas of Southern Ethiopia

Mr Yisahak Tsegaye

Mr Yisahak Tsegaye

MSc in Plant Breeding, University of Hawassa, Ethiopia.

Supervisors: Professor Alemayehu Chala and Dr Yayis Rezene.

Project objectives

  1. To map the distribution of common bean rust pathogen in production areas of southern Ethiopia.

  2. To determine the prevalence and severity of the disease.

  3. To assess virulence variability of the pathogen and identify the most virulent races.

  4. To identify the resistant bean lines for further breeding programme.


Mr Yisahak Tsegaye preparing the seed for the screening trial. 

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Bean rust infected bean plant (i).


  • Hailemariam, N., Wada, E. and Rezene, Y., 2023. Virulence and genetic variability among Colletotrichum lindemuthianum (Sacc. & Magnus) Briosi & Cavara isolates from common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). Biotechnology & Biotechnological Equipment, 37(1), p.2206493.

  • Firew, T., Rezene, Y. and Demissie, H., 2023. Characterization of resistance to angular leaf spot of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) breeding line SPS50HB. Plant Breeding.

  • Lema, M., Demissie, H. and Rezene, Y., 2021. Marker assisted gene introgression in to common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris l) against angular leaf spot (Pseudosercospora griseola) and anthracnose (Colletotrichum lindemuthianum). Journal of Agricultural Science and Practice 6: 118-129.


  • Rezene, Y., 2021. GGE-Biplot Analysis of Multi-Environment Yield Trials of Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in the southern Ethiopia. Journal of Plant Studies, 8(1), pp.1-35.Rezene, Y. and Mekonin, S., 2019. Screening common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) germplasm for resistance against angular leaf spot (Pseudocercospora griseola) disease under field condition. Journal of Plant Studies; Vol, 8(1).

  • Rezene, Y., 2019. GGE-Biplot Analysis of Multi-Environment Yield Trials of Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in the southern Ethiopia. Journal of Plant Studies 8(1).

  • Rezene, Y., Tesfaye, K., Mukankusi, C., Ratz, B. and Gepts, P., 2019. Marker-assisted Pyramiding Resistance Genes Against Angular Leaf Spot and Common Bacterial Blight Disease into Preferred Common Bean Cultivar. Molecular Plant Breeding, 10. J Biotechnol Biomater 2018, 8:4 DOI: 10.4172/2155-952X.1000286.

  • Rezene, Y., Tesfaye, K., Clare, M. and Gepts, P., 2018. Pathotypes characterization and virulence diversity of Pseudocercospora griseola the causal agent of angular leaf spot disease collected from major common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) growing areas of Ethiopia. J Plant Pathol Microbiol, 9(445), p.2.

  • Rezene, Y., Tesfaye, K., Mukankusi, C., Arunga, E. and Gepts, P., 2018. Simple and rapid detached leaf technique for screening common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) in vitro against angular leaf spot (Pseudocercospora griseola) disease. African Journal of Biotechnology, 17(35), pp.1076-1081.

  • Rezene, Y., Tesfaye, K., Clare, M., Male, A. and Gepts, P., 2018. Rep‐PCR genomic fingerprinting revealed genetic diversity and population structure among Ethiopian isolates of Pseudocercospora griseola pathogen of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.). J Plant Pathol Microbiol, 9(463), p.2.

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The SARI bean improvement team in 2021, left to right: Dr Yayis Rezene; Ms Mihiret Tadesse; Ms Tigist Firew; Mr Musa Tukie;(i); Mr Musa Tukie (ii); Mr Misgana Mitiku Shertore (iii).



Interactive Map

Locations of the Southern Agricultural Research Institute SARI field sites.

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