Charolais cattle
A trio of Charolais cattle displaying the breed's characteristic pale coat.

New Cattle DNA Test: Coat Color Dilution

Are you a fan of cream-colored cattle? Allow us to steer you to our new test! The VGL is happy to announce the launch of a coat color dilution test for Charolais, Highland, Simmental, Galloway, and Hereford cattle.

In the breeds of cattle listed above, a pale cream/white coat color is produced by genetic variants that have dosage-dependent effects on pigment. A single allele dilutes black to gray and red to pale red, and two dilution alleles produce a cream/white coat.

To date, two variants have been identified and associated with the dilute color phenotype in these breeds. One, denoted Dc (short for dilute Charolais) is associated with the Charolais breed's characteristic pale coat. The other, reported as Dh (short for dilute Highland) is found in the Highland, Galloway, Simmental, and American Hereford, as well as related breeds and crosses.

Color dilution caused by these two genetic variants is inherited as an incompletely dominant trait. The dilute hair color of heterozygous animals (Dh/N or Dc/N) is darker than that of homozygous animals (Dh/Dh or Dc/Dc) or compound heterozygotes (Dh/Dc).

This test updates and expands on the VGL's previous Charolais dilution test.

For more information on color dilution in cattle, and to order tests, please see:

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