Identification of a Potential Marker for Absence of Dark Fibre in Vicugna pacos (alpaca)
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The Melanocortin-1 receptor gene was sequenced in a group of 41 Australian alpacas and seven single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified within the coding region (D42D, N118N, L206L, E311E, T28A, G126S and R301C). Three of these SNP (T28A, G126S and R301C) showed an association with phenotypic colour variants when both skin and fibre colour were used to segregate animals into groups. We propose the identification of a haplotype (T28A/G126S), which appears to be a marker for the absence of dark pigment in alpaca fleeces. Animals with the G82/C126 combination did not have any dark pigment. Both A82G & C901T are potentially capable of altering MC1R function. It?s therefore possible that we have identified wild type (dominant) and loss-of-function (recessive) alleles of the alpaca MC1R gene.
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