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PLoS Genet. 2008 Sep 19;4(9):e1000195. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000195.

Missense mutation in exon 2 of SLC36A1 responsible for champagne dilution in horses.

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Department of Veterinary Science, MH Gluck Equine Research Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, United States of America.


Champagne coat color in horses is controlled by a single, autosomal-dominant gene (CH). The phenotype produced by this gene is valued by many horse breeders, but can be difficult to distinguish from the effect produced by the Cream coat color dilution gene (CR). Three sires and their families segregating for CH were tested by genome scanning with microsatellite markers. The CH gene was mapped within a 6 cM region on horse chromosome 14 (LOD = 11.74 for theta = 0.00). Four candidate genes were identified within the region, namely SPARC [Secreted protein, acidic, cysteine-rich (osteonectin)], SLC36A1 (Solute Carrier 36 family A1), SLC36A2 (Solute Carrier 36 family A2), and SLC36A3 (Solute Carrier 36 family A3). SLC36A3 was not expressed in skin tissue and therefore not considered further. The other three genes were sequenced in homozygotes for CH and homozygotes for the absence of the dilution allele (ch). SLC36A1 had a nucleotide substitution in exon 2 for horses with the champagne phenotype, which resulted in a transition from a threonine amino acid to an arginine amino acid (T63R). The association of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) with the champagne dilution phenotype was complete, as determined by the presence of the nucleotide variant among all 85 horses with the champagne dilution phenotype and its absence among all 97 horses without the champagne phenotype. This is the first description of a phenotype associated with the SLC36A1 gene.

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