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Nuclear Gene Indicates Coat-Color Polymorphism in Mammoths

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Science  07 Jul 2006:
Vol. 313, Issue 5783, pp. 62
DOI: 10.1126/science.1128994

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Abstract

By amplifying the melanocortin type 1 receptor from the woolly mammoth, we can report the complete nucleotide sequence of a nuclear-encoded gene from an extinct species. We found two alleles and show that one allele produces a functional protein whereas the other one encodes a protein with strongly reduced activity. This finding suggests that mammoths may have been polymorphic in coat color, with both dark- and light-haired individuals co-occurring.

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