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Harlequin colour in the Great Dane dog

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Breeding data from Eire and Great Britain confirm the hypothesis of Sponenberg (1985) that the harlequin colour of the Great Dane breed of dog is due the combined action of a dominant gene H with the merle gene M in the genotype H+M +. The typical bluish coloration induced by M is modified to white by the action of H. The H gene is a prenatal lethal when homozygous HH and this study offers clear indication that the heterozygous H + interacts with M to reduce the viability of white merle homozygotes H+MM.

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O'Sullivan, N., Robinson, R. Harlequin colour in the Great Dane dog. Genetica 78, 215–218 (1988).

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