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J Hered. 2018 Aug 24;109(6):700-706. doi: 10.1093/jhered/esy024.

Polymorphisms in MC1R and ASIP Genes are Associated with Coat Color Variation in the Arabian Camel.

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Department of Veterinary Public Health and Animal Husbandry, College of Veterinary Medicine, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia.
The Camel Research Center, King Faisal University, Saudi Arabia.
The Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait.
The International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) c/o ILRI-Ethiopia Campus, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The School of Life Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, UK.
LiveGene, International Livestock Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Pigmentation in mammals is primarily determined by the distribution of eumelanin and pheomelanin, the ratio of which is mostly controlled by the activity of melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) and agouti signaling protein (ASIP) genes. Using 91 animals from 10 Arabian camel populations, that included the 4 predominant coat color phenotypes observed in the dromedary (light brown, dark brown, black, and white), we investigated the effects of the MC1R and ASIP sequence variants and identified candidate polymorphisms associated with coat color variation. In particular, we identified a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), found in the coding region of MC1R (901C/T), linked to the white coat color, whereas a 1-bp deletion (23delT/T) and a SNP (25G/A) in exon 2 of ASIP are associated with both black and dark-brown coat colors. Our results also indicate support that the light-brown coat color is likely the ancestral coat color for the dromedary. These sequence variations at the MC1R and ASIP genes represent the first documented evidence of candidate polymorphisms associated with Mendelian traits in the dromedary.

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