Variation in nucleotide sequence of the melanocortin-1 receptor gene (Mc1r) is associated with melanism in several mammalian, avian and reptilian species, but no attempts have been made to understand the genetic underpinnings of melanism in amphibians. We isolated the complete coding sequence (945 bps) of Mc1r from the common frog (Rana temporaria) and compared the predicted amino acid sequence with that of fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. We investigated associations between nucleotide substitutions and the level of dorsal melanism among 28 individuals from two populations with pronounced differences in melanism. According to our results, the transmembrane regions of Mc1r are conserved across vertebrates. In the population comparison, we only found five nucleotide sites with synonymous substitutions; none is being associated with the level of melanism. Our results suggest that either other genes or regulatory regions outside the coding sequence of Mc1r are responsible for expression of melanism in R. temporaria.
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Vol. 47 • No. 1