the purpose of this study was to characterize the genetic variability in 100 genotypes of the active germplasm bank of common bean of the federal university of vi？osa, by morphological descriptors, classify them in groups of genetic similarity and to identify the degree of relevance of descriptors of genetic divergence. the genotypes were evaluated based on 22 quantitative and qualitative morphological descriptors. the high-yielding genotypes v 7936, gold gate, lm 95103904, 1829 s 349 venezuela, and pf 9029975, cnfc 9454 and fe 732015, with upright growth, have potential for use as parents in common bean breeding programs. by genetic divergence analysis, the genotypes were clustered in eight groups of genetic dissimilarity. by methods of principal components, 9 of the 22 descriptors were eliminated, for being redundant or little variable, suggesting that 10-20 morphological descriptors can be used in studies of characterization of genetic variation.