We report the identification of novel defence genes in canola by using a cDNA microarray from Arabidopsis. We examined changes that occur in the abundance of transcripts corresponding to 2375 Arabidopsis expressed sequence tags (selected for defence gene identification) following inoculation of canola plants with the fungal necrotrophic leaf pathogen, Alternaria brassicicola. Microarray data obtained from this cross-hybridisation experiment were compared to expression profiles previously obtained from the equivalent Arabidopsis experiment. Homology searches using a canola expressed sequence tag database with approximately 6000 unique clones led to identification of canola defence genes. Pathogen-responsive transcripts included those associated to known defence genes, reactive oxygen species metabolism, disease resistance and regulatory genes, and cell maintenance/metabolism genes. Using specific primers for quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase PCR, gene expression profiles in canola were obtained that demonstrated coordinated defence responses, including systemic responses in distal tissue and salicylic acid- and methyl jasmonate-mediated signalling against A. brassicicola.