Michigan State University researchers have identified a genetic mutation in Doberman pinschers that causes albinism in the breed, a discovery that has eluded veterinarians and breeders worldwide up until now.
Paige Winkler, a doctoral student at the College of Veterinary Medicine, says that the researchers found a gene mutation that results in a missing protein responsible for the pigmentation of cells.
Albino Dobermans possess a pink nose, white or very light colored coats, and pale irises in the eyes. These characteristics are similar to human albinos who have light skin, eye discoloration and often experience visual problems.
Like human albinos, the albino Dobermans are sensitive to light and have an increased risk of skin tumors.
Winkler says that this discovery will help Doberman breeders in the future where breeding lines carrying the defective gene can be identified.