Scientific Literature

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Mainly by (Dept of Human Genetics, Leiden University, The Netherlands)

Allan, D. and Robinson, R., 1988. Assortment of coat color genes in the Mongolian gerbil. Journal of Heridity, 79(5), 386-7.
* Second report on gene linkage in gerbils. Looked at possible linkage between a, ch, a, g, p and Sp based on data in previous studies. Demonstrated a recombination percentage of 40% between a and Sp which was not found by Waring et al below.
Cramlet, S.H., Toft II, J.D. & Olsen, N.W. 1974. Malignant melanoma in a black gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus). Laboratory Animal Science, 24, 545-547.
* Second report on a coat colour mutation in the Mongolian gerbil. The first black Mongolian gerbil was born in January 1971 in the U.S.A.
Henley, M. & Robinson, R. 1981. Non-agouti and pink-eyed dilution in the Mongolian gerbil. The Journal of Heredity, 72, 60-61.
*Analysis of the pink-eyed dilution mutation in the Mongolian gerbil. First Argente golden animal occurred in 1977 in London. Combination experiments with non-agouti (aa) were performed, leading to the first lilacs (they were not described as such in the article).
Leiper, B.D. & Robinson, R. 1984. A case of dominance modification in the Mongolian gerbil. The Journal of Heredity, 75, 323.
* Combining three (non-spot) colour mutations in the Mongolian gerbil known at that time, leading to new colours as the Argente creme, the pseudo-albino and the silver (now named 'dove' by fanciers).
Leiper, B.D. & Robinson, R. 1985. Gray mutant in the Mongolian gerbil. The Journal of Heredity, 76, 473.
* Colour mutant discovered in England in 1976. Resembles the chinchilla mutants of the albino series of alleles in mice and other mammals. When gray animals were mated to animals homozygous for acromelanic albino, only agouti animals were born. The gray mutant is not an allele of the albino locus and it's gene symbol designation is 'g'. Combinations with already known coat colour genes were made, leading to:
dark sepia (fanciers call this colour 'slate' [previously 'blue'])
pale cream or ivory (fanciers call this colour 'white bellied cream')
off-white (fanciers call this colour 'Ruby Eyed White (REW)'
Leiper, B.D. & Robinson, R. 1986. Linkage of albino and pink-eyed dilution genes in the Mongolian gerbil and other rodents. The Journal of Heredity, 77, 207.
* In this paper it was shown that the c-locus and the p-locus are linked, which means that they are located on the same chromosome. The colour now known to fanciers as lilac was called 'dove', and the colour now known to fanciers as dove was called 'silver'.
Matsuzaki, T., Yasuda, Y. & Nonaka, S. 1989. The genetics of coat colors in the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus). Experimental Animals, 38, 337-341.
* In this paper three coat colour controlling loci are presented: a-locus, b-locus and c-locus. A well established colony of agouti animals was kept; 1855 animals were bred between 1949 and 1988. No coat colour variants were found in this colony. They introduced 4 white animals from a petshop in Yokohama. In later generations it was proven that the white animals were carrying the black allele (a). From different mating experiments they showed that both white and black are autosomal recessive traits. The authors claim this is the first report of black coat colour in the Mongolian gerbil, which is not true because Cramlet et al. already described the blacks in 1974 and they were further analysed by Waring et al. in 1980. Furthermore the authors claim that the white animals are true albino's and not acromelanistic as the animals described by Robinson in 1973. Because of this difference the authors designated the allele symbol as 'c' (not ch). Because of the high density of melanin in the black animals the authors hypothesize there will be a b-locus controlling this. Unfortunately, no brown coat colour controlled by an allele of the brown locus has been found.
Petrij F, van Veen K, Mettler M, and Brückman V. 2001, A second acromelanistic allelomorph at the albino locus of the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus). Journal of Heredity, 92(1), 74-78.
* A report of a second mutation at the c-locus. Describes a mutation that resembles chinchilla medium (symbol cchm) in the  rabbit. Demonstrates that cchm/ch heterozygotes have an intermediate phenotype between cchm/cchm and ch/ch.   Contains a useful review of prior literature on gerbil  colour mutation. [NB, fanciers have for some time referred to this mutation as Burmese (symbol cb).]
Petrij F, M. Mettler M, V. Brückman V, van Veen K, Recessive yellow in the Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus). Journal of Experimental Animal Science 43 (2007) 319–327.
*A report of two recessive yellow mutations  (e and ef) including their discovery Poland and Austria. Describes Dark-Eyed Honey, (referred to as "recessive yellow",) Nutmeg (referred to as "black recessive yellow",) and Schimmel.
Robinson, R. 1973. Acromelanic albinism in mammals. Genetica, 44, 454-458.
* First report on a coat colour mutant in the Mongolian gerbil. The Himalayan mutation (Dark Tailed White) is described and compared to similar mutations in other species of mammals. This mutation is found in Britain since 1970.
Swanson, H.H. 1980. The 'hairless' gerbil: a new mutant. Laboratory Animals, 14, 143-147.
* Three hairless animals were born to a couple of Mongolian gerbils. Two did not survive past 5 weeks. The third animal (a female) survived and produced three litters, the first two died within two days after birth, the third was fostered. The pups of the fostered nest were examined after one week, all seemed to be growing hair. Although the hairless animal looks bald, the smooth warm skin is covered by fine stubble. The vibrissae also appear broken off short.
Waring, A.D. & Poole, T.W. 1980. Genetic analysis of the black pigment mutation in the Mongolian gerbil. The Journal of Heredity, 71, 428-429.
*The black pigment mutation of the Mongolian gerbil is inherited in an autosomal recessive way and is not linked to the pigment mutation spotted (Sp). Black gerbils have deep glossy black coats, yellow perineal hairs, and small white patches under the chin and across the front feet. The black hairs are pigmented entirely with eumelanin including numerous cortical granules. The similarities between the black gerbil mutant and various black pigment mutations in mice are discussed.
Waring, A.D., Poole, T.W. & Perper, T. 1978. White spotting in the Mongolian gerbil. The Journal of Heredity, 69, 347-349.
*White spotting accompanied by some dilution of coat colour. White spots on the crown of the head, nape of the neck, and tip of the nose. Dominant inheritance, lethal when homozygous. The first spotted Mongolian gerbil was born in January 1976 in New Jersey, U.S.A.

If anyone encounters other scientific papers on coat (colour) mutations in Mongolian or other species of gerbils and jirds, .

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Last updated 22 September 2007