Although variation in the KIT gene is a common cause of white spotting among domesticated animals, KIT has not been implicated in the diverse white spotting observed in the dog. Here, we show that a loss-of-function mutation in KIT recapitulates the coat color phenotypes observed in other species. A spontaneous white spotting observed in a pedigree of German Shepherd dogs was mapped by linkage analysis to a single locus on CFA13 containing KIT (pairwise LOD = 15). DNA sequence analysis identified a novel 1-bp insertion in the second exon that co-segregated with the phenotype. The expected frameshift and resulting premature stop codons predicted a severely truncated c-Kit receptor with presumably abolished activity. No dogs homozygous for the mutation were recovered from multiple intercrosses (P = 0.01), suggesting the mutation is recessively embryonic lethal. These observations are consistent with the effects of null alleles of KIT in other species.
© 2012 The Authors, Animal Genetics © 2012 Stichting International Foundation for Animal Genetics.