The genetics of coat colors in the mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus)

Jikken Dobutsu. 1989 Oct;38(4):337-41. doi: 10.1538/expanim1978.38.4_337.


Genetic studies demonstrated three loci controlling coat colors in the Mongolian gerbil. F1 hybrids of white gerbils with red eyes and agouti gerbils with wild coat color had the agouti coat color. The segregating ratio of agouti and white in the F2 generation was 3:1. In the backcross (BC) generation (white x F1), the ratio of the agouti and white coat colors was 1:1. Next, inheritance of the agouti coat color was investigated. Matings between agouti and non-agouti (black) gerbils produced only agouti gerbils. In the F2 generation, the ratio of agouti to non-agouti (black) was 3:1. There was no distortion in the sex ratios within each coat color in the F1, F2 and BC generations. This indicated that the white coat color of gerbils is governed by an autosomal recessive gene which should be named the c allele of the c (albino) locus controlling pigmentation, and the agouti coat color is controlled by an autosomal dominant gene which might be named the A allele of the A (agouti) locus controlling pigmentation patterns in the hair. The occurrence of the black gerbil demonstrated clearly the existence of the b (brown) locus, and it clearly indicated that the coat colors of gerbils can basically be explained by a, b, and c loci as in mice and rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gerbillinae / genetics*
  • Hair Color / genetics*