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DNA testing for health, appearance and pedigree verification in horses

Learn about one of the tests we do: Red/black

The red/black or extension gene (MC1R) controls the production of red pigment (i.e. to produce the chestnut coat colour) vs black pigment (i.e. to produce black or bay/brown coat colours). All chestnut and chestnut-based horses such as palominos have two copies of the red gene. Other horses can have either one copy of red and one copy of black, or two copies of black.

If your horse or pony is bay, brown or black, you can use genetic testing to check whether they have one vs two copies of the version of this gene that produces black pigment. Horses that have no red gene cannot produce chestnut offspring.

Gene or region and technical reference

Gene: MC1R (causative). Reference: Marklund et al. (1996)

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