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Open AccessArticle

An Agouti-Signaling-Protein Mutation is Strongly Associated with Melanism in European Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus)

Albrecht Daniel Thaer-Institute, Faculty of Life Sciences, Humboldt-University Berlin, 10099 Berlin, Germany
Wildlife Research Institute, 53229 Bonn, Germany
Leibniz-Institute for Zoo & Wildlife Research, Department of Evolutionary Genetics, 10315 Berlin, Germany
Institute of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, Kiel University, 24098 Kiel, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Genes 2020, 11(6), 647;
Received: 21 April 2020 / Revised: 5 June 2020 / Accepted: 8 June 2020 / Published: 11 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coat Color Genetics)
Although the European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) population of North-West Germany has a remarkable number of melanistic specimens between 10% and 25%, the underlying genetic mutation-causing melanism is still unknown. We used a gene targeting approach focusing on MC1R and ASIP as important genes of coat coloration. Overall, 1384 bp of MC1R and 2039 bp of ASIP were sequenced in 24 specimens and several SNPs were detected. But only the ASIP-SNP c.33G>T completely segregated both phenotypes leading to the amino acid substitution p.Leu11Phe. The SNP was further evaluated in additional 471 samples. Generally, all black specimens (n = 33) were homozygous TT, whereas chestnut individuals were either homozygote GG (n = 436) or heterozygote GT (n = 26). Considering the fact that all melanistic animals shared two mutated alleles of the strongly associated SNP, we concluded that melanism is inherited in a recessive mode in European roe deer. View Full-Text
Keywords: coat color; melanistic; cervid; ASIP; MC1R coat color; melanistic; cervid; ASIP; MC1R
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Reissmann, M.; Lutz, W.; Lieckfeldt, D.; Sandoval-Castellanos, E.; Ludwig, A. An Agouti-Signaling-Protein Mutation is Strongly Associated with Melanism in European Roe Deer (Capreolus capreolus). Genes 2020, 11, 647.

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