Farmers have been attempting to breed whiter wool for some time using quantitative and subjective genetic selection based on phenotypic traits. The improvement of wool colour using this form of selection has achieved limited success. The advent of DNA marker maps has introduced the possibility of more directly relating phenotypic and genetic variation. Work presented here has identified a total of ten potential quantitative trait loci (QTL) that are significant at the suggestive level, and one additional QTL that approached this significance threshold that influence wool colour. There have been five putative QTL identified for base colour or challenge colour brightness. Two QTL affecting challenge colour yellowness was identified, while three QTL identified were linked to predictive colour variation. An additional QTL that affected predictive colour has also been mapped to a non-specific location on chromosome 24. Several further key areas of research need to be addressed before the DNA markers can be developed for use in the improvement of wool colour.

GW, McKenzie, AP Maher, KG Dodds, AE Beattie, HM Henry, JGH Hickford, and GW Montgomery

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 61, Christchurch, 104-108, 2001
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