Interpretive Summary: Convergent changes in melanocortin receptor 1 gene are associated with black-headed coat color in sheep
By: Qian Zhou, Chunna Cao, Huanhuan Zhang, Yilin Liang, Xinyue Zhang, Yuxin Kang, Wenwen Fang, Xianyong Lan, Ran Li, Chuanying Pan
The diverse colors of sheep not only help to distinguish different breeds but also provide an ideal model to study the genetics underlying mammalian coat color variations. One unique coat color in sheep is the black-headed type, as represented by the famous meat breed Dorper sheep from Africa and Bayinbuluke sheep from Asia. In this study, we compared the genomes of black-headed sheep with all-white sheep in order to identify genes responsible for this distinguishable coat color. By analyzing genomic selection signals and haplotypes, we located MC1R as the most likely causative gene determining the black-headed coat color in sheep. Our study expanded our understanding of the genetic mechanisms of coat color diversities in sheep.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.