Pearl is different from the other equine coat colour dilution genes. When a single copy of the pearl gene is present in a horse, the effect on their coat colour is minimal. Experienced pearl horse breeders describe foals with a single copy of the pearl gene as having coats that are slightly shiny or iridescent. Skin colour may also be slightly lighter than non-pearl horses. As adults, horses with a single copy of the pearl gene are usually indistinguishable from horses with no copies of this gene, but can potentially produce pearl or cream pearl offspring.
Horses with two copies of the pearl gene have a light coat colour, usually with a beautiful sheen.
Horses with one copy of the pearl gene and one copy of the cream gene have the same range of appearance as horses with two copies of the cream gene (cremello, perlino or smoky black).
Gene or region and technical reference
Gene: SLC45A2 (causative). Reference: Sevane, Sanz and Dunner (2016)
n. Test developed using manufactured DNA, animal controls.
PRL. Test developed using manufactured DNA, animal cases.
This adorable Gypsy foal Brightwater Mumma Mia has two copies of the pearl gene. Thank-you Brightwater Gypsy Vanners, Kiakai Park Paint Stud and Yeguada Verdadero for providing samples from pearl and pearl carrier horses.