A feral donkey population (Equus asinus), living in the Asinara National Park (an island north-west of Sardinia, Italy), includes a unique white albino donkey subpopulation or colour morph that is a major attraction of this park. Disrupting mutations in the tyrosinase (TYR) gene are known to cause recessive albinisms in humans (oculocutaneous albinism Type 1; OCA1) and other species. In this study, we analysed the donkey TYR gene as a strong candidate to identify the causative mutation of the albinism of these donkeys. The TYR gene was sequenced from 13 donkeys (seven Asinara white albino and six coloured animals). Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified. A missense mutation (c.604C>G; p.His202Asp) in a highly conserved amino acid position (even across kingdoms), which disrupts the first copper-binding site (CuA) of functional protein, was identified in the homozygous condition (G/G or D/D) in all Asinara white albino donkeys and in the albino son of a trio (the grey parents had genotype C/G or H/D), supporting the recessive mode of inheritance of this mutation. Genotyping 82 donkeys confirmed that Asinara albino donkeys had genotype G/G whereas all other coloured donkeys had genotype C/C or C/G. Across-population association between the c.604C>G genotypes and the albino coat colour was highly significant (P=6.17E-18). The identification of the causative mutation of the albinism in the Asinara white donkeys might open new perspectives to study the dynamics of this putative deleterious allele in a feral population and to manage this interesting animal genetic resource.

The albinism of the feral Asinara white donkeys (Equus asinus) is determined by a missense mutation in a highly conserved position of the tyrosinase (TYR) gene deduced protein

UTZERI, VALERIO JOE;BERTOLINI, FRANCESCA;RIBANI, ANISA;SCHIAVO, GIUSEPPINA;DALL'OLIO, STEFANIA;FONTANESI, LUCA
2016

Abstract

A feral donkey population (Equus asinus), living in the Asinara National Park (an island north-west of Sardinia, Italy), includes a unique white albino donkey subpopulation or colour morph that is a major attraction of this park. Disrupting mutations in the tyrosinase (TYR) gene are known to cause recessive albinisms in humans (oculocutaneous albinism Type 1; OCA1) and other species. In this study, we analysed the donkey TYR gene as a strong candidate to identify the causative mutation of the albinism of these donkeys. The TYR gene was sequenced from 13 donkeys (seven Asinara white albino and six coloured animals). Seven single nucleotide polymorphisms were identified. A missense mutation (c.604C>G; p.His202Asp) in a highly conserved amino acid position (even across kingdoms), which disrupts the first copper-binding site (CuA) of functional protein, was identified in the homozygous condition (G/G or D/D) in all Asinara white albino donkeys and in the albino son of a trio (the grey parents had genotype C/G or H/D), supporting the recessive mode of inheritance of this mutation. Genotyping 82 donkeys confirmed that Asinara albino donkeys had genotype G/G whereas all other coloured donkeys had genotype C/C or C/G. Across-population association between the c.604C>G genotypes and the albino coat colour was highly significant (P=6.17E-18). The identification of the causative mutation of the albinism in the Asinara white donkeys might open new perspectives to study the dynamics of this putative deleterious allele in a feral population and to manage this interesting animal genetic resource.
Utzeri, V.J.; Bertolini, F.; Ribani, A.; Schiavo, G.; Dall’Olio, S.; Fontanesi, L
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/590145
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