OMIA 001199-37349 : Coat colour, extension in Mammuthus primigenius

In other species: cattle , dog , horse , red fox , pig , sheep , jaguar , jaguarundi , American black bear , domestic cat , rabbit , domestic guinea pig , goat , Arctic fox , rock pocket mouse , oldfield mouse , gray squirrel , lesser earless lizard , little striped whiptail , water buffalo , domestic yak , alpaca , , coyote , reindeer , Geoffroy's cat , Kodkod , Colocolo , ass , Arabian camel , Mongolian gerbil

Possibly relevant human trait(s) and/or gene(s) (MIM number): 266300

Mendelian trait/disorder: yes

Considered a defect: no

Key variant known: yes

Year key variant first reported: 2006

Cross-species summary: The extension locus encodes the melanocyte-stimulating hormone receptor (MSHR; also known as MC1R). This receptor controls the level of tyrosinase within melanocytes. Tyrosinase is the limiting enzyme involved in synthesis of melanins: high levels of tyrosinase result in the production of eumelanin (dark colour, e.g. brown or black), while low levels result in the production of phaeomelanin (light colour, e.g. red or yellow). When melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) binds to its receptor, the level of tyrosinase is increased, leading to production of eumelanin. The wild-type allele at the extension locus corresponds to a functional MSHR, and hence to dark pigmentation in the presence of MSH.

Molecular basis: By sequencing the MC1R gene from bone of a 43,000-year-old woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) from Siberia, Rompler et al. (2006) discovered that the individiual was heterozygous: "one allele produces a functional protein whereas the other one encodes a protein with strongly reduced activity. This finding suggests that mammoths may have been polymorphic in coat color, with both dark- and light-haired individuals co-occurring."

Associated gene:

Symbol Description Species Chr Location OMIA gene details page Other Links
MC1R Mammuthus primigenius - no genomic information (-..-) MC1R Ensembl


2006 Rompler, H., Rohland, N., Lalueza-Fox, C., Willerslev, E., Kuznetsova, T., Rabeder, G., Bertranpetit, J., Schoneberg, T., Hofreiter, M. :
Nuclear gene indicates coat-color polymorphism in mammoths. Science 313:62, 2006. Pubmed reference: 16825562. DOI: 10.1126/science.1128994.

Edit History

  • Created by Frank Nicholas on 18 Jul 2010
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 12 Oct 2011
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 12 Dec 2011
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 21 Mar 2012