1932

Abstract

The diversity of mammalian coat colors, and their potential adaptive significance, have long fascinated scientists as well as the general public. The recent decades have seen substantial improvement in our understanding of their genetic bases and evolutionary relevance, revealing novel insights into the complex interplay of forces that influence these phenotypes. At the same time, many aspects remain poorly known, hampering a comprehensive understanding of these phenomena. Here we review the current state of this field and indicate topics that should be the focus of additional research. We devote particular attention to two aspects of mammalian pigmentation, melanism and pattern formation, highlighting recent advances and outstanding challenges, and proposing novel syntheses of available information. For both specific areas, and for pigmentation in general, we attempt to lay out recommendations for establishing novel model systems and integrated research programs that target the genetics and evolution of these phenotypes throughout the Mammalia.

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2021-02-15
2024-06-14
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