MC1R including Black/Red (Telstar) in Holsteins

Quick Summary

The Melanocortin-1 Receptor gene (MC1R), also called Extension (E), controls black and red pigment production in cattle. In Holsteins, there are four known variants including Black/Red (Telstar).

Red and Black Holstein Cattle
Holstein cows

Phenotypes:

  • Dominant black: Holstein cattle with dominant black are black and white.
  • Black/Red: The Black/Red variant results in red color at birth which changes to black at a young age, usually by 3-6 months.
  • Wild type red: Wild Type red produces cattle with red and white coloration that may appear darker towards the extremities of the body, especially as the animal ages.
  • Recessive red: Cattle with two copies of the recessive red allele are red in color.

Mode of Inheritance: Autosomal recessive, order of dominance is ED > E BR > E+ > e

Alleles:

ED = Dominant black
EBR = Black/Red (Telstar)
E+ = Wild type
e = Recessive red

Breeds appropriate for testing: Holstein

Explanation of Results:

  • Cattle with ED/ED genotype will be black and white and cannot produce true red offspring. They will transmit this dominant black variant to all of their offspring.
  • Cattle with ED/EBR, ED/E+, and ED/e genotypes will be black and white and are carriers of their respective less-dominant variants. Matings between two carriers of the same recessive variant (e.g. ED/e x ED/e) result in a 25% chance of producing a calf with that recessive coloration (e.g. ED/e x ED/e has a 25% chance of producing a red calf).
  • Cattle with EBR/EBR genotype will be Black/Red and cannot produce true red offspring. They will transmit this Black/Red variant to all of their offspring.
  • Cattle with EBR/E+ and EBR/e will be Black/Red and carriers of their respective less-dominant variants. Matings between two carriers of the same recessive allele (e.g. EBR/E+ x EBR/E+) result in a 25% chance of producing a calf with that recessive coloration (e.g. EBR/E+ x EBR/E+ has a 25% chance of producing a Wild type-colored calf).
  • Cattle with E+/E+ genotype will be Wild type red and white. They will transmit this Wild type variant to all of their offspring.
  • Cattle with E+/e genotype will be Wild type red and white and carriers of recessive red. They will transmit this recessive red variant to 50% of their offspring. Matings between two carriers of recessive red result in a 25% chance of producing a calf with recessive red coloration.
  • Cattle with e/e genotype will be recessive red and white. All calves produced from matings with other e/e genotype cattle will have recessive red base coloration.

 

In the absence of the Dominant Red mutation. Holsteins with the Dominant Red variant will be red and white regardless of MC1R genotype. See Dominant Red test for more information.

Price

$25 one test per animal

Additional Details

The Melanocortin-1 Receptor gene (MC1R), also called Extension (E), controls black and red pigment production in cattle. Holstein cattle have another gene, Dominant Red, which overrides MC1R and produces dominant red pigment. Both the Dominant Red test and this Holstein-specific MC1R test help Holstein breeders select for their preferred color variants.

The four alleles of the MC1R gene are dominant black (ED), Black/Red (EBR), wild type red (E+), and recessive red (e). Dominant black (ED) is dominant to the other three alleles, and animals with ED are black and white. Black/Red, also known as Telstar, (EBR), results in red color at birth which changes to black at a young age, usually by 3-6 months. Wild type red (E+) produces cattle with red and white coloration that may appear darker towards the extremities of the body, especially as the animal ages. Two copies of the recessive red (e) allele result in red color. The order of dominance is ED>EBR>E+>e.

 

Note: The test for Black/Red color is based on a linked marker associated with the phenotype. Research is ongoing to find the causative mutation for Black/Red.

 

Other Holstein breed-specific tests offered by the VGL:

Turnaround Time
5-10 business days
Type of Sample

Species

Breed

Type of Test

Results Reported As
Test Result Melanocortin-1 Receptor gene (MC1R) / Extension (E)
ED/ED Black and white. This animal cannot produce red offspring. *
ED/EBR Black and white, carrier of Black/Red. *
ED/E+ Black and white, carrier of wild type red. *
ED/e Black and white, carrier of recessive red. *
EBR/EBR Black/Red. This animal cannot produce true red offspring. *
EBR/E+ Black/Red, carrier of wild type red. *
EBR/e Black/Red, carrier of recessive red. *
E+/E+ Wild type red and white.
E+/e Wild type red and white, carrier of recessive red.
e/e Recessive red and white. When bred to another e/e will produce only red offspring.

* In the absence of Dominant Red

References

Klungland, H., Vage, D.I., Gomez-Raya, L., Adalsteinsson, S., Lien, S. (1995). The role of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH) receptor in bovine coat color determination. Mammalian Genome, 6(9), 636-639. doi: 10.1007/BF00352371

Lawlor, T.J., VanRaden, P.M., Null, D., Levisee, J., & Dorshorst, B. (2014). Using haplotypes to unravel the inheritance of Holstein coat color. Proceedings, 10th World Congress of Genetics Applied to Livestock Production.