The Tyr (albino) locus of the laboratory mouse
The albino mouse was already known in ancient times and was apparently selectively bred in Egypt, China, and Japan. Thus, it is not surprising that the c or albino locus (now the Tyr locus) was among the first used to demonstrate Mendelian inheritance in mammals at the dawn of the past century. This locus is now known to encode tyrosinase, the rate-limiting enzyme in the production of melanin pigment, and the molecular basis of the albino (Tyr c ) mutation is known. Here we describe the congenic series of Tyr-locus alleles, from wild type to null (albino). We compare eye and skin pigmentation phenotypes and the genetic lesions that cause each. We suggest that this panel of congenic mutants contains rich, untapped resources for the study of many questions of basic cell biological interest.
KeywordsHair Follicle Tyrosinase Activity Hair Coat Tyrosinase Gene Tyrosinase Enzyme
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Thanks are due to Andrea Schmidt for help with the DNA and RNA analyses of Tyr c-e and Tyr c-a mutant mice. Work in the laboratory of FB was supported by grants from the Swiss Cancer League, by grant 3100-066796.01 from the Swiss National Science Foundation, and by the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Molecular Oncology, a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation, and in the laboratory of SJO by PHS grants EY10223 and AR41880.
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