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Common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), one of the most important grain legume crops for direct human consumption, faces many challenges as a crop. Domesticated from wild relatives that inhabit a relatively narrow ecological niche, common bean faces a wide range of biotic and abiotic constraints within its diverse agroecological settings. Biotic stresses impacting common bean include numerous bacterial, fungal, and viral diseases and various insect and nematode pests, and abiotic stresses include drought, heat, cold, and soil nutrient deficiencies or toxicities. Breeding is often local, focusing on improvements in responses to biotic and abiotic stresses that are particular challenges in certain locations and needing to respond to conditions such as day-length regimes. This review describes the major breeding objectives for common bean, followed by a description of major genetic and genomic resources, and an overview of current and prospective marker-assisted methods in common bean breeding. Improvements over traditional breeding methods in CB can result from the use of different approaches. Several important germplasm collections have been densely genotyped, and relatively inexpensive SNP genotyping platforms enable implementation of genomic selection and related marker-assisted breeding approaches. Also important are sociological insights related to demand-led breeding, which considers local value chains, from farmers to traders to retailers and consumers.