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Pearl Dilution


Smoky Black Pearl Horse
Smoky Black Pearl

Pearl dilution is a recently identified and rare color gene that is thought to have originated in horses of Spanish descent. The presence of the Pearl gene has been confirmed in breeds of Iberian origin, such as the Lusitano and Purebred Spanish horse, and is theorized to be present in the Spanish Mustang.   In the American Quarter and American Paint horses, Pearl dilution is regularly referred to as the 'Barlink Factor.'  Although the gene is distinct, the affect of Pearl dilution is similar to that of the cream and champagne dilutions.


Pearl dilution is a recessive gene, and therefore will only affect the coat of the carrying horse if:
1)      Two inherited copies of the pearl dilution gene are present.  Horses inheriting two copies of the Pearl will have a diluted coat and pale skin. For example, red horses carrying two copies of Pearl will have a lightened apricot coat, mane and tail, pale skin, and light brown eye color.

2)      The Cream Dilution gene is also present in the Pearl-carrying horse. The combination of the dominant Cream gene and the Pearl dilution gene will produce a pale coat color similar to that of horses that are homozygous for the Cream gene, such as cremello. The skin is pale and the eyes a blue/green color.


Pearl Dilution Testing

Animal Genetics offers DNA testing and detection of the Pearl Dilution gene mutation.


$25.00 US per sample.

Sample Collection

Collect sample by pulling (not cutting) 20-30 mane or tail hairs with roots attached. It is important that you pull the hairs and confirm that the actual root of the hair is being collected. The root contains the genetic material of your horse that is needed for DNA testing. Therefore, cut hairs do not provide an adequate sample of your horse. Place the collected hairs of each horse in a separate zip-lock bag labeling the bags accordingly with the horses name or identification number. Download and complete a submission form for each sample and send along with payment to Animal Genetics for testing.


Results are given using the following symbolic notation:

The horse carries two copies of the Pearl gene and is homozygous for Pearl. The horse will always pass on one copy of the Pearl gene to its offspring. Horses with two copies of pearl will have a lightened mane and tail, a lightened coat and have pale skin.
One copy of the Pearl Dilution gene was detected. Offspring of this horse will have a 50% chance of inheriting the Pearl gene.
Horse tested negative for the Pearl Dilution gene.




Animal Genetics, Inc.
1336 Timberlane Rd - Tallahassee, FL 32312
Toll Free: 866-922-6436

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