Association between polymorphism in the melanocortin 1 receptor gene and E locus plumage color phenotype.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene on plumage color in chickens. The gene was sequenced in 77 males and 77 females from 13 Spanish breeds, carrying 6 different alleles in the E locus (E*E, E*R, E*WH, E*N, E*B, E*BC), a recessive wheaten (yellowish-white) tester line (E*Y), and a White Leghorn population (heterozygous E*E). A total of 11 significant SNP were detected. Nine of them were nonsynonymous (T212C, G274A, G376A, T398AC, G409A, A427G, C637T, A644C, and G646A, corresponding to amino acid changes Met72Thr, Glu92Lys, Val126Ile, Leu133GlnPro, Ala137Thr, Thr143Ala, Arg213Cys, His215Pro, and Val216Ile), and 2 were synonymous (C69T and C834T). With respect to the significant SNP, 7 had an allelic frequency of 0.5 or greater for some of the alleles at the E locus. These results indicated a significant correlation between MC1R polymorphism and the presence of different alleles at the E locus. All the populations carrying the E*E or E*R alleles, except the Birchen Leonesa, had the G274A polymorphism. Eleven haplotypes were made with 7 of the significant SNP. The distribution of these haplotypes in the different alleles of the E locus showed that each haplotype was predominantly associated to one allele. The number of haplotypes was greatest for the Black Menorca, Birchen Leonesa, and Blue Andaluza breeds, whereas the Quail Castellana and Red-barred Vasca breeds were monomorphic. Our results suggested that the Glu92Lys mutation may be responsible of the activation of the receptor for eumelanin production, being necessary but not sufficient to express the extended black phenotype. They also suggested that the Arg213Cys mutation may be the cause of the loss or the decrease of function of the receptor to produce eumelanin, and the Ala137Thr mutation may be a candidate to attenuate the Glu92Lys effect. The observed co-segregation of the E locus alleles and polymorphisms in MC1R confirms that the E locus is equivalent to MC1R.

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Edited by Wieslaw (02/13/18 03:42 PM)
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