Melanism in guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) is associated with a deletion of Phenylalanine-256 in the MC1R gene


O. Vidal, Departament de Biologia, Universitat de Girona, E-17071 Girona, Catalonia, Spain.


We have characterized a deletion in the MC1R gene causing the loss of one amino acid (p.Phe256del), which is perfectly associated with melanism in guinea fowl (Numida meleagris). Co-segregation of the p.Phe256del with melanism was confirmed in 25 offspring born from a cross of two heterozygote birds; therefore we suggest that this mutation is responsible for the black phenotype. Interestingly, this is the first case of recessive melanism linked to MC1R.