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Hi,

as I already wrote some weeks ago I started with two classes a selection experiment on trichomes. We are nearly at the end and it’s seems that results are exactly as we expected.
In addition to the fact that the trichomes number is easy to quantify, it is also a good trait to select because the defense system against pathogens is strongly associated with the fitness of organisms.

Crucifers defense system against pests and pathogens also includes the production of phytoalexins. At this point I was wondering if, exploiting the elegant design suggested by Jackson for salt tolerance, it could be possible, in the future, to infect a population of Brassica with an appropriate fungus and test the differential survive rate after selection. Maybe genes related to the production of different phytoalexins are variable enough and inheritable?

Moreover, reading the article “The genome of mesopolyploid crop species Brassica rapa“(Nature Genetics 43, 1035-1039, 2011) I discover that about 13-17 milions of year ago genome of Brassica rapa triplicate and that this drastic event probably favored adaptability on different environment conditions and amplified genes numbers related to the response (tolerance) to cold, salinity, metals and pathogens.

Tanti sauti dal piccolo Ticino (Switzerland)

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Hi Mattia,

Happy to hear that your trichome selection is producing your expected results!

You have shared some interesting thoughts with us. It would be very interesting to learn whether the variability in phytoalexin production can be heritable, and I think your suggestions provide a reasonable method to investigate this possibility.

The Rapid Cycling Brassica Collection (RCBC) has a number of Pathogen/Pest Interaction stocks. While I am not wholly familiar with these stocks myself, Dr. Paul Williams developed these stocks and may be able to weigh in on both the heritability of phytoalexins and an appropriate fungus for making such a selection experiment. I believe Paul plans to add his input to this discussion soon, if not we shall discuss this with him and follow up with you.

Hello again, Mattia,

At this time we have not ourselves conducted any testing on phytoalexin production in Fast Plants and cannot comment on the variability or heritability of phytoalexins. However, as I mentioned in the previous post, our seed collection, the Rapid Cycling Brassica Collection, does contain a number of Pathogen Interaction stocks that were selected for resistance/susceptibility to White Rust, an infection caused by the oomycete Albugo candida.

Paul Williams would recommend caution in attempting a study on Fast Plants and Albugo candida, as the process can be quite involved, but we'd like to provide you with information on White Rust and Albugo candida so that you may decide if this is a direction you'd like to move in. Attached to this post is a PDF about White rust and A. candida, hopefully it can be useful to you.

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