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Monday, August 20, 2007

Café Botanique - Wednesday, August 22 - Morrison Center

Genetic Heritage of Dry Bean Accounts and Breast Cancer
By Mark A. Brick, Ph.D., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

The chemical and nutritional composition of dry beans varies among market classes. Previous reports have shown that beans differ in their ability to accumulate micronutrients and in their content of phytochemicals that have been linked to positive health benefits. To better understand whether genetic heritage of dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) influence their health benefits, we investigated anti-cancer activity in laboratory animals fed different dry bean types. Dry beans that originated in Middle America had cancer multiplicity that was 40% higher than beans from Andean South America. Antioxidant capacity of the bean was not associated with cancer multiplicity, even though levels differed by 300% indicating that there is significant genetic diversity for anti-cancer activity based on genetic heritage rather than antioxidant activity.

Mark Brick is a Professor of Plant Breeding in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University. He is currently the leader of the CSU Dry Bean Breeding Project (DBBP), and responsible for development of dry edible bean varieties for the western U.S.. His research interests include genetic mechanisms of disease resistance, plant architecture and more recently on the health benefits of dry edible beans with the Cancer Prevention Laboratory at Colorado State University. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and has collaborated with scientists, farmers and industry clientele in the U.S. and internationally.

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