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Archives Animal Breeding Archiv Tierzucht

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Arch. Anim. Breed., 61, 173-178, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/aab-61-173-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Review
19 Apr 2018
Genetic background of coat colour in sheep
Anna Koseniuk, Katarzyna Ropka-Molik, Dominika Rubiś, and Grzegorz Smołucha Department of Animal Genomics and Molecular Biology, National Research Institute of Animal Production, Krakowska 1, 32-083 Balice, Poland
Abstract. The coat colour of animals is an extremely important trait that affects their behaviour and is decisive for survival in the natural environment. In farm animal breeding, as a result of the selection of a certain coat colour type, animals are characterized by a much greater variety of coat types. This makes them an appropriate model in research in this field. A very important aspect of the coat colour types of farm animals is distinguishing between breeds and varieties based on this trait. Furthermore, for the sheep breeds which are kept for skins and wool, coat/skin colour is an important economic trait. Until now the study of coat colour inheritance in sheep proved the dominance of white colour over pigmented/black coat or skin and of black over brown. Due to the current knowledge of the molecular basis of ovine coat colour inheritance, there is no molecular test to distinguish coat colour types in sheep although some are available for other species, such as cattle, dogs, and horses. Understanding the genetic background of variation in one of the most important phenotypic traits in livestock would help to identify new genes which have a great effect on the coat colour type. Considering that coat colour variation is a crucial trait for discriminating between breeds (including sheep), it is important to broaden our knowledge of the genetic background of pigmentation. The results may be used in the future to determine the genetic pattern of a breed. Until now, identified candidate genes that have a significant impact on colour type in mammals mainly code for factors located in melanocytes. The proposed candidate genes code for the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), agouti signaling protein (ASIP), tyrosinase-related protein 1 (TYRP1), microphthalmia-associated transcription factor MITF, and v-kit Hardy–Zuckerman 4 feline sarcoma viral oncogene homologue (KIT). However, there is still no conclusive evidence of established polymorphisms for specific coat colour types in sheep.
Citation: Koseniuk, A., Ropka-Molik, K., Rubiś, D., and Smołucha, G.: Genetic background of coat colour in sheep, Arch. Anim. Breed., 61, 173-178, https://doi.org/10.5194/aab-61-173-2018, 2018.
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Short summary
The coat colour of animals is an extremely important trait that affects their behaviour and is decisive for survival in the natural environment. The trait serves to distinguish between breeds and varieties. Coat colour is also an important economic trait. Understanding the genetic background of variation in one of the most important phenotypic traits in livestock would help to identify new genes that have a great effect on the coat colour type.
The coat colour of animals is an extremely important trait that affects their behaviour and is...
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