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Coat Colour Merle

Breed: Jack Russell Terrier

Breeds

Relevance Rating: There is some evidence or research available in this breed

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General

Disease Name
Coat Colour Merle
Mutation
NC_006592.3 (327618..292595)
Mutation 2
SINE oligo(dT) insertion
Test Type
Other Genetic Traits
Details
The merle gene (in the M locus) dilutes random sections of the coat to a lighter colour (usually grey in a black-pigmented dog), leaving patches of the original colour remaining. The patches can be any size and can be located anywhere. The edges of the patches may appear "torn" unlike the rounded spots of a Dalmatian. Merle affects only eumelanin, meaning that any black, liver, blue or isabella in the coat, eyes or nose will be merled, whether it's the whole of the body or in patches. Phaeomelanin (red) is not affected at all and will appear as normal. Merle is dominant, meaning all "normal" merles are heterozygous (Mm). A homozygous merle is actually a "double" merle (MM), which can result in serious health issues. Including deafness, blindness, sun sensitivity and skin cancer. For this reason two merles should never be bred together, as this will result in some double merle puppies. In many countries, these matings are banned from registration. As reported by Clark et al. (2006)(citing Sorsby and Davey (1954), "Dogs having Mm and MM genotypes typically have blue eyes and often exhibit a wide range of auditory and ophthalmologic abnormalities" As breeding merle dogs can be very challenging in avoiding producing merle x merle puppies, it is especially important to take breeding advice.
Details 2
The merle gene (in the M locus) dilutes random sections of the coat to a lighter colour (usually grey in a black-pigmented dog), leaving patches of the original colour remaining. The patches can be any size and can be located anywhere. The edges of the patches may appear "torn" unlike the rounded spots of a Dalmatian. Merle affects only eumelanin, meaning that any black, liver, blue or isabella in the coat, eyes or nose will be merled, whether it's the whole of the body or in patches. Phaeomelanin (red) is not affected at all and will appear as normal. Merle is dominant, meaning all "normal" merles are heterozygous (Mm). A homozygous merle is actually a "double" merle (MM), which can result in serious health issues. Including deafness, blindness, sun sensitivity and skin cancer. For this reason two merles should never be bred together, as this will result in some double merle puppies. As reported by Clark et al. (2006)(citing Sorsby and Davey (1954), "Dogs having Mm and MM genotypes typically have blue eyes and often exhibit a wide range of auditory and ophthalmologic abnormalities"
Published
Clark, LA., Wahl, JM., Rees, CA., Murphy, KE. : From The Cover: Retrotransposon insertion in SILV is responsible for merle patterning of the domestic dog. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103:1376-81, 2006. Pubmed reference: 16407134. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0506940103.
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