Researchers at AAFC and the University of Saskatchewan previously identified Brassica species that produced hairs (trichomes) that deter flee beetle feeding. This project is investigating the complexity of the “hairy” trait and will provide canola breeders with hairy lines, and associated genetic markers, to allow its introduction into canola varieties.
Two B. napus lines with bristly/coarse hairs and a single Brassica villosa line that is densely covered with short/soft hairs are being investigated. Genetic analysis of crosses between hairy and non-hairy B. napus lines revealed that the presence/absence of hairs is controlled by a single gene and that trichome abundance is controlled by additional genes. Crosses between Brassica villosa and Brassica oleraceae were successful in bringing the short/soft hair trait into a background that is more amenable to crossing with B. napus.