Allelic variation of melanocortin-1 receptor locus in Saudi indigenous sheep exhibiting different color coats

  • Mahmoud, Ahmed H. (Zoology Department, College of Science, King Saud University) ;
  • Mashaly, Ashraf M. (Zoology Department, College of Science, King Saud University) ;
  • Rady, Ahmed M. (Zoology Department, College of Science, King Saud University) ;
  • Al-Anazi, Khalid M. (Zoology Department, College of Science, King Saud University) ;
  • Saleh, Amgad A. (Department of Plant Protection, College of Food and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University)
  • Received : 2016.02.19
  • Accepted : 2016.08.01
  • Published : 2017.02.01


Objective: This study was designed to characterize the DNA polymorphisms of the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene in indigenous Saudi Arabian sheep breeds exhibiting different color coats, along with individuals of the Sawaknee breed, an exotic sheep imported from Sudan. Methods: The complete coding region of MC1R gene including parts of 3' and 5' untranslated regions was amplified and sequenced from three the indigenous Saudi sheep; Najdi (generally black, n = 41), Naeimi (generally white with brown faces, n = 36) and Herri (generally white, n = 18), in addition to 13 Sawaknee sheep. Results: Five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were detected in the MC1R gene: two led to nonsynonymous mutations (c.218 T>A, p.73 Met>Lys and c.361 G>A, p.121 Asp>Asn) and three led to synonymous mutations (c.429 C>T, p.143 Tyr>Tyr; c.600 T>G, p.200 Leu>Leu, and c.735 C>T, p.245 Ile>Ile). Based on these five SNPs, eight haplotypes representing MC1R $E^d$ and $E^+$ alleles were identified among the studied sheep breeds. The most common haplotype (H3) of the dominant $E^d$ allele was associated with either black or brown coat color in Najdi and Sawaknee sheep, respectively. Two other haplotypes (H6 and H7) of $E^d$ allele, with only the nonsynonymous mutation A218T, were detected for the first time in Saudi indigenous sheep. Conclusion: In addition to investigating the MC1R allelic variation in Saudi indigenous sheep populations, the present study supports the assumption that the two independent nonsynonymous Met73Lys and Asp121Asn mutations in MC1R gene are associated with black or red coat colors in sheep breeds.


MC1R;Ovis aries;SNPs;Saudi Sheep


Supported by : King Saud University


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