Twelve meta-QTL for seed Fe and Zn concentration and/or content were identified from 87 QTL originating from seven population grown in sixteen field trials. These meta-QTL include 2 specific to iron, 2 specific to zinc and 8 that co-localize for iron and zinc concentrations and/or content.




Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) is the most important legume for human consumption worldwide and it is an important source of microelements, especially iron and zinc. Bean biofortification breeding programs develop new varieties with high levels of Fe and Zn targeted for countries with human micronutrient deficiencies. Biofortification efforts thus far have relied on phenotypic selection of raw seed mineral concentrations in advanced generations. While numerous quantitative trait loci (QTL) studies have been conducted to identify genomic regions associated with increased Fe and Zn concentration in seeds, these results have yet to be employed for marker-assisted breeding. The objective of this study was to conduct a meta-analysis from seven QTL studies in Andean and Middle American intra- and inter-gene pool populations to identify the regions in the genome that control the Fe and Zn levels in seeds. Two meta-QTL specific to Fe and two meta-QTL specific to Zn were identified. Additionally, eight Meta QTL that co-localized for Fe and Zn concentration and/or content were identified across seven chromosomes. The Fe and Zn shared meta-QTL could be useful candidates for marker-assisted breeding to simultaneously increase seed Fe and Zn. The physical positions for 12 individual meta-QTL were identified and within five of the meta-QTL, candidate genes were identified from six gene families that have been associated with transport of iron and zinc in plants.