OMIA:000914-9940 : Silky wool in Ovis aries (sheep)

Categories: Integument (skin) phene

Mendelian trait/disorder: yes

Mode of inheritance: Autosomal dominant

Considered a defect: yes

Key variant known: no

Species-specific description: This trait is due to an autosomal dominant mutation that occurred in a Delaine-Merino flock in West Texas in the early thirties. Newborn lambs lacked the usual halo hairs, had smooth wavy wool and no skin folds, giving a slick, shiny appearance (hence the term 'silky'). Adult fleeces lacked the usual crimp, having instead locks resembling flat locks of mohair with large bold waves. Adult sheep showed a marked tendency to partly shed their wool, resulting in extreme felting of many fibres before shearing. The wool was extremely greasy. Viability of the mutant animals was so poor that the mutation has become extinct by 1960. Silky wool is very similar to, and may be the same as, lustrous wool. (See entry for Lustrous wool.)

Cite this entry

Nicholas, F. W., Tammen, I., & Sydney Informatics Hub. (2011). OMIA:000914-9940: Online Mendelian Inheritance in Animals (OMIA) [dataset].


Note: the references are listed in reverse chronological order (from the most recent year to the earliest year), and alphabetically by first author within a year.

1960 Warwick, B.L., Davis, S.P., Berry, R.O., Patterson, R.E. :
'Silky', a dominant mutation in sheep Journal of Heredity 51:39-42, 1960.
1954 Rigoli, L. :
[The origin of the silky wool sheep breed of Mauchamps] Rivista di Zootecnia 27:85-86, 1954.

Edit History

  • Created by Frank Nicholas on 06 Sep 2005
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 26 Oct 2011