OMIA:001545-9913 : Coat colour, dilution, PMEL-related in Bos taurus (taurine cattle)

In other species: domestic yak

Categories: Pigmentation phene

Links to possible relevant human trait(s) and/or gene(s) in OMIM: 155550 (gene)

Mendelian trait/disorder: yes

Mode of inheritance: Autosomal recessive

Considered a defect: no

Key variant known: yes

Year key variant first reported: 2007

Cross-species summary: FN acknowledges invaluable feedback from Cord Drögemüller that has led to the name of this phene being changed from "Coat colour, dilution" to "Coat colour, dilution, PMEL-related".

Molecular basis: Gutiérrez-Gil et al. (2007): c.64G>A Jolly et al. (2008): c.50_52delTTC Laible et al. (2021): "To better adapt dairy cattle to rapidly warming climates, we aimed to lighten their coat color by genome editing. ... Using gRNA/Cas9-mediated editing, we introduced a three bp deletion in the pre-melanosomal protein 17 gene (PMEL) proposed as causative variant for the semi-dominant color dilution phenotype observed in Galloway and Highland cattle. [Holstein Friesian] calves generated from cells with homozygous edits revealed a strong color dilution effect. ... This ... verified the causative nature of the PMEL mutation for diluting the black coat color in cattle." This study involves genetically modified organisms (GMO). Kimura et al. (2022) reported that the dilute coat colour in the Kumamoto sub-breed of Japanese Brown cattle is due to the c.50_52del; p.(L19del) PMEL variant (OMIA variant 484). Wei et al. (2023) used TALEN genome editing to create the PMEL Leu18del (OMIA variant 484) in Holstein Friesian cattle: "Multiple non-mosaic calves with precision edited genotypes were produced, including calves from high genetic merit parents. Compared to controls, the edited calves showed a strong coat colour dilution which was associated with lower thermal energy absorbance." This study involves genetically modified organisms (GMO).

Genetic engineering: Yes - in addition to the occurrence of natural variants, variants have been created artificially, e.g. by genetic engineering or gene editing
Have human generated variants been created, e.g. through genetic engineering and gene editing

Breeds: Charolais (Cattle) (VBO_0000177), Galloway (Cattle) (VBO_0000207), Hereford (Cattle) (VBO_0000232), Highland (Cattle) (VBO_0000234), Japanese Brown, Japan (Cattle) (VBO_0004988), Simmental (Cattle) (VBO_0000380).
Breeds in which the phene has been documented. (If a likely causal variant has been documented for the phene, see the variant table breeds in which the variant has been reported).

Associated gene:

Symbol Description Species Chr Location OMIA gene details page Other Links
PMEL premelanosome protein Bos taurus 5 NC_037332.1 (57344558..57353370) PMEL Homologene, Ensembl , NCBI gene


By default, variants are sorted chronologically by year of publication, to provide a historical perspective. Readers can re-sort on any column by clicking on the column header. Click it again to sort in a descending order. To create a multiple-field sort, hold down Shift while clicking on the second, third etc relevant column headers.

WARNING! Inclusion of a variant in this table does not automatically mean that it should be used for DNA testing. Anyone contemplating the use of any of these variants for DNA testing should examine critically the relevant evidence (especially in breeds other than the breed in which the variant was first described). If it is decided to proceed, the location and orientation of the variant sequence should be checked very carefully.

Since October 2021, OMIA includes a semiautomated lift-over pipeline to facilitate updates of genomic positions to a recent reference genome position. These changes to genomic positions are not always reflected in the ‘acknowledgements’ or ‘verbal description’ fields in this table.

OMIA Variant ID Breed(s) Variant Phenotype Gene Allele Type of Variant Source of Genetic Variant Reference Sequence Chr. g. or m. c. or n. p. Verbal Description EVA ID Year Published PubMed ID(s) Acknowledgements
484 Charolais (Cattle) Galloway (Cattle) Hereford (Cattle) Highland (Cattle) Japanese Brown, Japan (Cattle) Simmental (Cattle) Coat colour, dilution PMEL deletion, small (<=20) Naturally occurring variant ARS-UCD1.2 5 g.57345302_57345304del c.50_52del p.(L19del) rs385468954 2008 18408794 Breed and variant information kindly provided or confirmed by Matt McClure and Jennifer McClure from "Understanding Genetics and Complete Genetic Disease and Trait Definition (Expanded 2016 Edition)" (
774 Charolais (Cattle) Coat colour, dilution PMEL missense Naturally occurring variant ARS-UCD1.2 5 g.57345315G>A c.64G>A p.(G22R) rs718553050 2007 17705851 Breed and variant information kindly provided or confirmed by Matt McClure and Jennifer McClure from "Understanding Genetics and Complete Genetic Disease and Trait Definition (Expanded 2016 Edition)" (

Cite this entry

Nicholas, F. W., Tammen, I., & Sydney Informatics Hub. (2024). OMIA:001545-9913: 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.

2023 Wang, J., Fan, T., Du, Z., Xu, L., Chen, Y., Zhang, L., Gao, H., Li, J., Ma, Y., Gao, X. :
Genome-wide association analysis identifies the PMEL gene affecting coat color and birth weight in Simmental × Holstein. Animals (Basel) 13:3821, 2023. Pubmed reference: 38136858. DOI: 10.3390/ani13243821.
Wei, J., Brophy, B., Cole, S.A., Leath, S., Oback, B., Boch, J., Wells, D.N., Laible, G. :
Production of light-coloured, low heat-absorbing Holstein Friesian cattle by precise embryo-mediated genome editing. Reprod Fertil Dev 36:112-123, 2023. Pubmed reference: 38064192. DOI: 10.1071/RD23163.
2022 Kimura, S., Hatakeyama, T., Koutaka, T., Kubo, K., Morita, S., Eguchi, K., Saitoh, K., Yamauchi, K., Imai, S., Kashimura, A., Inenaga, T., Matsumoto, H. :
PMEL p.Leu18del dilutes coat color of Kumamoto sub-breed of Japanese Brown cattle. BMC Genomics 23:694, 2022. Pubmed reference: 36207673. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-022-08916-8.
2021 Bovo, S., Schiavo, G., Kazemi, H., Moscatelli, G., Ribani, A., Ballan, M., Bonacini, M., Prandi, M., Dall'Olio, S., Fontanesi, L. :
Exploiting within-breed variability in the autochthonous Reggiana breed identified several candidate genes affecting pigmentation-related traits, stature and udder defects in cattle. Anim Genet 52:579-97, 2021. Pubmed reference: 34182594. DOI: 10.1111/age.13109.
Laible, G., Cole, S.A., Brophy, B., Wei, J., Leath, S., Jivanji, S., Littlejohn, M.D., Wells, D.N. :
Holstein Friesian dairy cattle edited for diluted coat color as a potential adaptation to climate change. BMC Genomics 22:856, 2021. Pubmed reference: 34836496. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-021-08175-z.
Rowan, T.N., Durbin, H.J., Seabury, C.M., Schnabel, R.D., Decker, J.E. :
Powerful detection of polygenic selection and evidence of environmental adaptation in US beef cattle. PLoS Genet 17:e1009652, 2021. Pubmed reference: 34292938. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009652.
2020 Knaust, J., Weikard, R., Albrecht, E., Brunner, R.M., Günther, J., Kühn, C. :
Indication of premelanosome protein (PMEL) expression outside of pigmented bovine skin suggests functions beyond eumelanogenesis. Genes (Basel) 11:788, 2020. Pubmed reference: 32668786. DOI: 10.3390/genes11070788.
2015 Mészáros, G., Petautschnig, E., Schwarzenbacher, H., Sölkner, J. :
Genomic regions influencing coat color saturation and facial markings in Fleckvieh cattle. Anim Genet 46:65-8, 2015. Pubmed reference: 25515556. DOI: 10.1111/age.12249.
2013 Druet, T., Pérez-Pardal, L., Charlier, C., Gautier, M. :
Identification of large selective sweeps associated with major genes in cattle. Anim Genet 44:758-62, 2013. Pubmed reference: 23859468. DOI: 10.1111/age.12073.
Schmutz, S.M., Dreger, D.L. :
Interaction of MC1R and PMEL alleles on solid coat colors in Highland cattle. Anim Genet 44:9-13, 2013. Pubmed reference: 22524257. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2012.02361.x.
2008 Jolly, RD., Wills, JL., Kenny, JE., Cahill, JI., Howe, L. :
Coat-colour dilution and hypotrichosis in Hereford crossbred calves. N Z Vet J 56:74-7, 2008. Pubmed reference: 18408794. DOI: 10.1080/00480169.2008.36812.
2007 Gutiérrez-Gil, B., Wiener, P., Williams, J.L. :
Genetic effects on coat colour in cattle: dilution of eumelanin and phaeomelanin pigments in an F2-Backcross Charolais x Holstein population. BMC Genet 8:56, 2007. Pubmed reference: 17705851. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2156-8-56.
Kühn, C.h., Weikard, R. :
An investigation into the genetic background of coat colour dilution in a Charolais x German Holstein F2 resource population. Anim Genet 38:109-13, 2007. Pubmed reference: 17302792. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2052.2007.01569.x.
2004 Guibert, S., Girardot, M., Leveziel, H., Julien, R., Oulmouden, A. :
Pheomelanin coat colour dilution in French cattle breeds is not correlated with the TYR, TYRP1 and DCT transcription levels. Pigment Cell Res 17:337-45, 2004. Pubmed reference: 15250935. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0749.2004.00152.x.

Edit History

  • Created by Frank Nicholas on 24 Feb 2011
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 09 Dec 2011
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 03 Aug 2017
  • Changed by Imke Tammen2 on 01 Jul 2021
  • Changed by Imke Tammen2 on 01 Dec 2021
  • Changed by Frank Nicholas on 28 Oct 2022
  • Changed by Imke Tammen2 on 25 Sep 2023
  • Changed by Imke Tammen2 on 14 Jan 2024