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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 675382, 8 pages
Research Article

Mutations in MC1R Gene Determine Black Coat Color Phenotype in Chinese Sheep

1Department of Life Sciences, Shangqiu Normal University, Shangqiu 476000, China
2Gansu Province Key Laboratory of Herbivorous Animal Biotechnology, Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou 730070, China
3Lanzhou Institute of Animal and Veterinary Pharmaceutics Sciences, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Lanzhou 730050, China

Received 29 June 2013; Accepted 26 July 2013

Academic Editors: N. L. Tang and A. Walley

Copyright © 2013 Guang-Li Yang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The melanocortin receptor 1 (MC1R) plays a central role in regulation of animal coat color formation. In this study, we sequenced the complete coding region and parts of the 5′- and 3′-untranslated regions of the MC1R gene in Chinese sheep with completely white (Large-tailed Han sheep), black (Minxian Black-fur sheep), and brown coat colors (Kazakh Fat-Rumped sheep). The results showed five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs): two non-synonymous mutations previously associated with coat color (c.218 T>A, p.73 Met>Lys. c.361 G>A, p.121 Asp>Asn) and three synonymous mutations (c.429 C>T, p.143 Tyr>Tyr; c.600 T>G, p.200 Leu>Leu. c.735 C>T, p.245 Ile>Ile). Meanwhile, all mutations were detected in Minxian Black-fur sheep. However, the two nonsynonymous mutation sites were not in all studied breeds (Large-tailed Han, Small-tailed Han, Gansu Alpine Merino, and China Merino breeds), all of which are in white coat. A single haplotype AATGT (haplotype3) was uniquely associated with black coat color in Minxian Black-fur breed ( , chi-square test). The first and second A alleles in this haplotype 3 represent location at 218 and 361 positions, respectively. Our results suggest that the mutations of MC1R gene are associated with black coat color phenotype in Chinese sheep.