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Genetics of white color and iridophoroma in "Lemon Frost" leopard geckos.

  • Guo, Longhua
  • Bloom, Joshua
  • Sykes, Steve
  • Huang, Elaine
  • Kashif, Zain
  • Pham, Elise
  • Ho, Katarina
  • Alcaraz, Ana
  • Xiao, Xinshu Grace
  • Duarte-Vogel, Sandra
  • Kruglyak, Leonid
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2021
eScholarship - University of California
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The squamates (lizards and snakes) are close relatives of birds and mammals, with more than 10,000 described species that display extensive variation in a number of important biological traits, including coloration, venom production, and regeneration. Due to a lack of genomic tools, few genetic studies in squamates have been carried out. The leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius, is a popular companion animal, and displays a variety of coloration patterns. We took advantage of a large breeding colony and used linkage analysis, synteny, and homozygosity mapping to investigate a spontaneous semi-dominant mutation, "Lemon Frost", that produces white coloration and causes skin tumors (iridophoroma). We localized the mutation to a single locus which contains a strong candidate gene, SPINT1, a tumor suppressor implicated in human skin cutaneous melanoma (SKCM) and over-proliferation of epithelial cells in mice and zebrafish. Our work establishes the leopard gecko as a tractable genetic system and suggests that a tumor suppressor in melanocytes in humans can also suppress tumor development in iridophores in lizards.

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