Mung bean [Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek] is a drought-tolerant, short-duration crop, and a rich source of protein and other valuable minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants. The main objectives of this research were (1) to study the root traits related with the phenotypic and genetic diversity of 375 mung bean genotypes of the Iowa (IA) diversity panel and (2) to conduct genome-wide association studies of root-related traits using the Automated Root Image Analysis (ARIA) software. We collected over 9,000 digital images at three-time points (days 12, 15, and 18 after germination). A broad sense heritability for days 15 (0.22–0.73) and 18 (0.23–0.87) was higher than that for day 12 (0.24–0.51). We also reported root ideotype classification, i.e., PI425425 (India), PI425045 (Philippines), PI425551 (Korea), PI264686 (Philippines), and PI425085 (Sri Lanka) that emerged as the top five in the topsoil foraging category, while PI425594 (unknown origin), PI425599 (Thailand), PI425610 (Afghanistan), PI425485 (India), and AVMU0201 (Taiwan) were top five in the drought-tolerant and nutrient uptake “steep, cheap, and deep” ideotype. We identified promising genotypes that can help diversify the gene pool of mung bean breeding stocks and will be useful for further field testing. Using association studies, we identified markers showing significant associations with the lateral root angle (LRA) on chromosomes 2, 6, 7, and 11, length distribution (LED) on chromosome 8, and total root length-growth rate (TRL_GR), volume (VOL), and total dry weight (TDW) on chromosomes 3 and 5. We discussed genes that are potential candidates from these regions. We reported beta-galactosidase 3 associated with the LRA, which has previously been implicated in the adventitious root development via transcriptomic studies in mung bean. Results from this work on the phenotypic characterization, root-based ideotype categories, and significant molecular markers associated with important traits will be useful for the marker-assisted selection and mung bean improvement through breeding.
Mung bean (Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek) is an important crop providing protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and minerals in Southeast Asia and Africa. Trifoliate leaves in mung beans are central to several plant processes like photosynthesis, light interception, early disease & pest warning signals, and overall canopy architecture. We sampled more than 5000 leaf images of the Iowa Mung bean diversity panel (IMDP) during the 2020 and 2021 growing seasons in a Randomized Complete Block Design. We recorded the phenotypic diversity, developed a regression model for the oval leaflet type, and conducted GWAS for the image extracted traits. The diversity in the morphology included leaflet type (oval or lobed), leaflet size (small, medium, large), lobed angle (shallow, deep), and vein coloration (green, purple). A universal regression model LA = b0 + b1L + b2W + b3L*W was the best at predicting the area of each ovate leaflet with an adjusted R2 of 0.97. The candidate genes Vradi01g07560, Vradi05g01240, Vradi02g05730, and Vradi03g00440 are associated with multiple traits (length, width, perimeter, and area) across the leaflets (left, terminal, and right) and would be suitable candidates for further investigation in their role in leaf development, growth, and function. Future studies will be needed to correlate the observed traits discussed here with yield or important agronomic traits for use as phenotypic or genotypic markers in marker-aided selection methods for mung bean crop improvement.