oa Agriprobe - Black sheep of the wool industry - : research news

Volume 13, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1810-9799



Merino sheep are known and highly valued for their soft white fleece. It may therefore be surprising to learn that the Merino, and in fact most other sheep breeds, are descended from dark coloured ancestors. The white coat of the modern Merino is the result of a duplication mutation of the ASIP gene that results in a white coat with pink skin. Due to the historical preference for white wool, white Merinos were favoured as breeding stock and passed this mutation to their offspring.

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