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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Nels Granholm


The yellow-albino compound mutant mouse serves as an excellent model for studying gene expression during melanogenesis. These mice are mutant at two loci, the agouti locus (Ay/a) and the albino locus (c2J/c2J). Both of these loci play a role in the process of melanogenesis (formation of pigment). Electron microscopy of the hair bulb (HB) melanocytes, proved to be a productive tool for determining the effects of agouti and albino loci on the differentiation of melanosomes. Results reveal that the agouti locus seems to play a role in not only determining the color of the pigment, but also in dictating the shape of the melanosome. On the other hand, the albino locus is responsible for the presence or absence of pigment; the albino locus may also encode gene products which affect the size of the melanosome. Alleles at the albino locus in mice may represent productive models of human albinism. Knowledge obtained from mouse models may be of value in understanding and eventually diagnosing the different forms of human albinism.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Mice as laboratory animals


Pigmentation disorders

Melanins - Synthesis



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University