Menotti-Raymond, M., David, V. A., Eizirik, E., Roelke, M. E., Ghaffari, H., & O’Brien, S. J. (2009). Mapping of the domestic cat “SILVER” coat color locus identifies a unique genomic location for silver in mammals. Journal of Heredity, 100(suppl_1), S8–S13.
The SILVER locus has been mapped in the domestic cat, identifying a unique genomic location distinct from that of any known reported gene associated with silver or hypopigmentation in mammals. A demonstrated lack of linkage to SILV, the strong candidate gene for silver, led to the initiation of a genome scan utilizing 2 pedigrees segregating for silver coat color. Linkage mapping defined a genomic region for SILVER as a 3.3-Mb region, (95.87-99.21 Mb) on chromosome D2, (peak logarithm of the odds 5 10.5, θ = 0), which displays conserved synteny to a genomic interval between 118.58 and 121.85 Mb on chromosome 10 in the human genome. In the domestic cat, mutations at the SILVER locus suppress the development of pigment in the hair, but in contrast to other mammalian silver variants, there is an apparently greater influence on the production of pheomelanin than eumelanin pigment. The mapping of a novel locus for SILVER offers much promise in identifying a gene that may help elucidate aspects of pheomelanogenesis, a pathway that has been very elusive, and illustrates the promise of the cat genome project in increasing our understanding of basic biological processes of general relevance for mammals.