A frameshift mutation in KIT is associated with white spotting in the Arabian camel

Heather Holl, Ramiro Isaza, Yasmin Ali Mohamoud, Ayeda Ahmed, Faisal Almathen, Cherifi Youcef, Semir Gaouar, Douglas F. Antczak, Samantha Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


While the typical Arabian camel is characterized by a single colored coat, there are rare populations with white spotting patterns. White spotting coat patterns are found in virtually all domesticated species, but are rare in wild species. Theories suggest that white spotting is linked to the domestication process, and is occasionally associated with health disorders. Though mutations have been found in a diverse array of species, fewer than 30 genes have been associated with spotting patterns, thus providing a key set of candidate genes for the Arabian camel. We obtained 26 spotted camels and 24 solid controls for candidate gene analysis. One spotted and eight solid camels were whole genome sequenced as part of a separate project. The spotted camel was heterozygous for a frameshift deletion in KIT (c.1842delG, named KITW1 for White spotting 1), whereas all other camels were wild-type (KIT+/KIT+). No additional mutations unique to the spotted camel were detected in the EDNRB, EDN3, SOX10, KITLG, PDGFRA, MITF, and PAX3 candidate white spotting genes. Sanger sequencing of the study population identified an additional five KITW1/KIT+ spotted camels. The frameshift results in a premature stop codon five amino acids downstream, thus terminating KIT at the tyrosine kinase domain. An additional 13 spotted camels tested KIT+/KIT+, but due to phenotypic differences when compared to the KITW1/KIT+ camels, they likely represent an independent mutation. Our study suggests that there are at least two causes of white spotting in the Arabian camel, the newly described KITW1 allele and an uncharacterized mutation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Mar 2017



  • Arabian camel
  • Dromedary camel
  • KIT
  • White spotting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

Cite this

Holl, H., Isaza, R., Ali Mohamoud, Y., Ahmed, A., Almathen, F., Youcef, C., Gaouar, S., Antczak, D. F., & Brooks, S. (2017). A frameshift mutation in KIT is associated with white spotting in the Arabian camel. Genes, 8(3), [102]. https://doi.org/10.3390/genes8030102