Camarillo White - W4

Quick Summary

Camarillo White is a dominant white coat color characterized by a completely white coat, mane, and tail, and is found exclusively in the Camarillo White Horse.

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Phenotype: Camarillo White is a dominant white coat color characterized by a completely white coat, mane, and tail.

Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal dominant

Alleles: N = Normal or non-Camarillo White, CW = Camarillo White

Breeds appropriate for testing: Camarillo White Horse

Explanation of Results:

  • Horses with N/N genotype will not be Camarillo White and cannot transmit a Camarillo White variant to their offspring.
  • Horses with N/CW genotype will be Camarillo White. They may transmit the Camarillo White variant to 50% of their offspring. Matings with N/N genotype will result in a 50% chance of producing a Camarillo White foal.
  • Horses with CW/CW genotype have not yet been observed and are likely embryonic lethal.

Turnaround Time
At least 10 business days; may be delayed beyond 10 business days if sample requires additional testing, or a new sample is requested.

$40 one test per animal
+ $15 each additional coat color/type test on the same animal

Sample Collection

Horse DNA tests are carried out using cells from the roots of a hair sample (roughly 20-30 hairs).

1. Grab about 10 hairs at the base.

2. Wrap the hairs around your finger and give it a quick pull.

3. Check the ends to make sure the pulled hairs have roots.

4. Repeat the process until you have collected about 20-30 hairs with intact roots.

5. You can choose different places on the mane or tail. NOTE: For foals, we recommend pulling all hairs from the tail only. 

6. Tape the hairs to the submission form and fold the form along the dotted line to protect the sample. Do not use ziploc bags as they can cause condensation that allows mold to grow on the hair.

Hairs with roots

7. Place the folded form containing the sample in a paper envelope and mail it to the laboratory.


Additional Details

Multiple dominant white mutations have occurred in horses across different breeds. They are termed dominant white because one copy of these mutations results in an all white phenotype where two copies are mostly embryonic lethal.

The mutations causing dominant white in horses all occur in the KIT gene, a gene with a vital role in pigment cell biology. One of these mutations has been preserved through breeding and formed the basis for creation of a new breed with an all-white phenotype. Camarillo White Horses are the result of one such KIT gene mutation called W4, as it was the fourth dominant white mutation to be reported. A Southern California rancher named Adolfo Camarillo purchased Sultan, a white stallion born around 1912, and bred him to Morgan Horse mares to create white horses that became famous performers in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade and other local events. The Camarillo family kept the white horses until 1987 when they were dispersed at a public auction. In 1992 the Camarillo White Horse Association was formed to preserve the white horses descended from Sultan.

The Camarillo White mutation is caused by a single nucleotide change in KIT (c.2151C>G), this change in the DNA results in a change in the protein sequence and is thought to make the protein non-functional. KIT has crucial function for the development of blood, gonadal, and pigmentary tissues. Mutations that affect normal functioning of KIT gene products often result in lack of pigment cells (melanocytes) in the skin and hair follicles which leads to white patterning in horses known as dominant white. It is inherited in a dominant fashion in that horses with one copy of W4 will have the all white phenotype. However to date no horses with two copies have been identified it is thus likely that homozygosity is embryonic lethal.

Testing for the Camarillo White (W4) variant can help owners make breeding decisions. Mating of a carrier of Camarillo White (CW/N) to a non-Camarillo White (N/N) horse will result in a 50% chance of producing Camarillo White offspring.