MC1R (Extension) - Red/Black

Quick Summary

The Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R) gene (also called Extension) controls the production of black and red pigments in the coats of domestic cattle, creating base colors that may then be further modified by other genes.

Phenotype: Cattle with the dominant black allele are jet black (solid or spotted); wild type cattle have reddish brown to brownish black base coloration with a tan muzzle ring; cattle with two copies of the recessive red allele have a red base coloration.

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

Alleles: ED = Dominant black, E+ = Wild type, e = Recessive red

Breeds appropriate for testing: Many breeds (excluding Holsteins—see separate Holstein-specific MC1R test)

Explanation of Results:

  • Cattle with ED/ED genotype will have a jet black base color and cannot produce red offspring. They will transmit this dominant black variant to all of their offspring.
  • Cattle with ED/E+ genotype will have a jet black base color and are carriers of the wild type variant. They will transmit this wild type variant to 50% of their offspring. Matings between two wild type carriers result in a 25% chance of producing a calf with wild type base coloration.
  • Cattle with ED/e genotype will have a jet black base color and are carriers of the recessive red variant. They will transmit this recessive red variant to 50% of their offspring. Matings between two recessive red carriers result in a 25% chance of producing a calf with recessive red base coloration.
  • Cattle with E+/E+ genotype will have wild type base coloration (reddish brown to brownish black base coloration). They will transmit this wild type variant to all of their offspring.
  • Cattle with E+/e genotype will have wild type base coloration (reddish brown to brownish black base coloration) and are carriers of the recessive red variant. They will transmit this recessive red variant to 50% of their offspring. Matings between two recessive red carriers result in a 25% chance of producing a calf with recessive red base coloration.
  • Cattle with e/e genotype will have red base coloration. They will transmit this recessive red variant to all of their offspring. All calves produced from matings with other e/e genotype cattle will have recessive red base coloration.

Note: Overall appearance of the cattle's coat also depends on expression of and complex interactions with other genes (for example, genes that add white spotting, genes that affect pigment distribution, and genes that dilute pigments).

Price

$25 one test per animal

Also available as part of the following Dexter breed-specific packages:

$35 this test + one test from list below
$45 this test + two tests from list below
$55 this test + all tests from list below

Additional Details

Several genes are involved in the process of creating the complex coat colors and patterns found in domestic cattle. One of these is the Melanocortin 1 Receptor (MC1R) gene, also called Extension, that controls the production of black (eumelanin) and red (phaeomelanin) pigments. The three alleles (forms or variants) of this gene are dominant black (ED), Wild type (E+), and recessive red (e).

Dominant black (ED) is dominant to the other two alleles, and animals with this allele are jet black (solid or spotted). The Wild type (E+) produces cattle with reddish brown to brownish black coloration with a tan muzzle ring. Two copies of the recessive red (e) allele will result in red color. Other coat color genes act as modifiers of these base colors, adding white spotting patterns, reorganizing the distribution of red and black pigments (Brindle and Agouti), or diluting the pigments (Dun, Charolais dilution, and Simmental diution).

 

Note: In Holsteins, there are two other variants that can mask the effects of the other MC1R (Extension) alleles. These are known as 'Black/Red' (red color changes to black) and 'Variant Red' (dominant red color). This test for MC1R does not detect these alleles. If you wish to test a Holstein, please see this breed-specific test.
Turnaround Time
2-6 business days
Type of Sample

Species

Type of Test

Results Reported As
Test Result MC1R (Extension)
ED/ED Dominant black. This animal cannot produce red offspring.
ED/E+ Dominant black. Carrier of wild type.
ED/e Dominant black. Carrier of recessive red.
E+/E+ Wild type.
E+/e Wild type. Carrier of recessive red.
e/e Recessive red. When bred to another 'e/e' will produce only red offspring.
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