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Dilution gene

Dilution gene is a popular term for any one of a number of genes that act to create a lighter coat color in living creatures. There are many examples of such genes:



Diluted coat colors have melanocytes, but vary from darker colors due to the concentration or type of these pigment-producing cells, not their absence. Pigment dilution, sometimes referred to as hypomelanism, has been called leucism, albinism (perfect, impartial, or dilute), ghosting, paling, and isabellinism.[1]

  • Albinism describes a condition where there is no color pigment
  • Leucism describes a condition that creates loss of pigment cells


  • Cat coat genetics discusses many dilution genes in cats


  • Cream gene, describes the process for horses by which the cremello, perlino, smoky cream double-dilute colors are created as well as the buckskin, palomino and smoky black single dilute colors.
  • Dun gene describes another common dilution gene in horses
  • Champagne gene, describes a different and rarer dilution gene in horses that also creates cream coloring, pale skin with mottling and light-colored eyes.
  • Pearl gene, also called the "Barlink factor," is a recessive gene. One copy of the allele has no effect on the coat color of black, bay or chestnut horses. Two copies on a chestnut horse produce a pale, uniform apricot color of body hair, mane and tail as well as pale skin. It also interacts with Cream dilution to produce "pseudo-double" Cream dilutes with pale skin and blue or green eyes.
  • Silver dapple gene, describes a dilution gene that works in a unique manner, lighting the mane and tail of a horse to a greater degree than the body color (opposite of most dilution genes, which act more strongly on the body color)
  • White (horse) describes several unique genetic processes that create truly white, not diluted, color in horses.
  • Gray (horse) explains the process of the gray gene, which lightens the coat over time, but is not a dilution gene.


  1. Davis, Jeff N. (September/October 2007). "Color Abnormalities in Birds". Birding (American Birding Association) 39 (5). 

See also

  • wikispecies:Felis sylvestris catus (cat)


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