Genome analysis identifies the mutant genes for common industrial Silverblue and Hedlund white coat colours in American mink

Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 14;9(1):4581. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40918-7.


The fur colour of American mink (Neovison vison) involves over 35 traits, but only three of these have been linked to specific genes. Despite being the most popular, coat colours Silverblue and Hedlund white remain uncharacterized genetically. The former is the first genetic mutant of fur colour identified in minks, while the latter is a commercially valuable phenotype that can be dyed easily. Here, we performed the whole genome sequencing for two American mink breeds with Silverblue and Hedlund white coats. We identified mutations in splice donor sites of genes coding melanophilin (MLPH) and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) that regulate melanosome transport and neural-crest-derived melanocyte development, respectively. Both mutations cause mRNA splicing impairments that lead to a shift in open reading frames of MLPH and MITF. We conclude that our data should be useful for tracking economically valuable fur traits in mink breeding programs to contribute to global fur production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Alleles
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Genetic Association Studies* / methods
  • Genome*
  • Genomics* / methods
  • Genotype
  • Mink / genetics*
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype*
  • RNA Splice Sites


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • RNA Splice Sites