Microsatellite mapping of the bovine roan locus: a major determinant of White Heifer disease.
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In the Belgian Blue Cattle breed, coat color variation is mainly under the influence of a single autosomal locus, the roan locus, characterized by a pair of codominant alleles: r+ (black) and R (white). Heterozygous r+R animals have intermingled black and white hairs, yielding the "blue" phenotype typical of the breed. Major interest for the roan locus stems from its pleiotropic effect on fertility, owing to the critical role of the R allele in the determinism of White Heifer Disease. We describe the linkage mapping of the roan locus to bovine Chromosome (Chr) 5, in the interval between microsatellite markers BPI and AGLA293, with an associated lodscore of 11.2. Moreover, we map a candidate gene, the Steel locus coding for the mast cell growth factor, to bovine Chr 5.