1022-7954/05/4111- © 2005 Pleiades Publishing, Inc.
Russian Journal of Genetics, Vol. 41, No. 11, 2005, pp. 1281–1286. Translated from Genetika, Vol. 41, No. 11, 2005, pp. 1552–1558.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2005 by Cheprakov, Evdokimov, Glotov.
The mole vole
Pallas is polymor-
phic with respect to coat color: there are brown, black,
and transitional forms . The color polymorphism is
especially pronounced in southern Ural and southern
Trans-Ural populations. The frequency of color morphs
may vary in different years in the same population and
in different populations in the same year . These dif-
ferences seem to be adaptive, because different color
morphs have been demonstrated to have speciﬁc phys-
iological characteristics [3, 4]. The polymorphism of
this character, which is probably correlated with com-
ponents of adaptation, makes the study of the inherit-
ance of coat color in mole voles an important current
Certainly, genetic analysis of coat color requires that
that the animals are kept in a vivarium, because con-
trolled crosses should be performed in at least two gen-
erations. However, many cases are known when prelim-
inary data on the mode of inheritance of various char-
acters were obtained by collecting family material in
wild populations, if the researchers were able to use the
advantage of some ecological and biological speciﬁci-
ties of the species studied .
The purpose of this study was to determine the mode
of inheritance of coat color in the mole vole with the
use of the results of observations in a wild population.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
During several years (1985–1999), mole voles were
captured and tagged in a polymorphic population from
the Kurtamysh raion of the Kurgan oblast . The pop-
ulation comprised mole voles with a black (Bl), transi-
tional (T), and brown (Br) coat colors. We divided the
T color into ﬁve variants arranged in the order of
decreasing the intensity of the black color (from the
coat color close to Bl to that close to Br).
T1. Black hair was predominant; there was a brown
stripe on the side or on the belly.
T2. The back was black; the sides and the belly were
brown (the so-called saddlecloth color pattern). This
variant of coat color was observed in approximately
two-thirds of animals with T coat color.
T3. The belly was black; the back was brown.
T4. Black hairs were sparsely and almost evenly dis-
tributed among brown hairs (the general color was dark
T5. The coat color pattern was similar to T4, but
black hair contained less pigment, and the coat color
had a gray shade (the general color was gray-brown or
As a rule, mole voles live in relatively stable family
groups. In each family, only one pair is usually involved
in reproduction for as long as ﬁve years . Long-term
observations of tagged animals made it possible to take
into account migration between families.
The female that was involved in reproduction was
identiﬁed due to the traces of lactation and nourishing
The reproducing male was identiﬁed on the basis of
the body length and weight and the state of the repro-
duction system. Usually, this was the largest and oldest
of the males. In this male, well-developed testes were
usually observable when the experimenter stretched the
skin around the pelvic girdle. The animals constituting
the family pair often kept together and were trapped
one after the other. Our experience of breeding mole
Inheritance of Coat Color
in the Mole Vole (
M. I. Cheprakov
, N. G. Evdokimov
, and N. V. Glotov
Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Yekaterinburg, 620144 Russia;
Mari State University, Department of Plant Biology, Ioshkar-Ola, 424001 Mari El, Russia; e-mail: email@example.com
Received January 21, 2005; in ﬁnal form, May 26, 2005
—Based on the ecological features of the mole vole, family analysis of the inheritance of coat color
was performed with the use of material collected in a wild population. Analysis of coat color in parents and
offspring has demonstrated that the offspring segregation into black and nonblack animals after crosses of dif-
ferent types agrees with the hypothesis on the monogenic inheritance of these color variations. Black mole voles
are homozygous for the recessive allele (genotype
). Homozygotes for the dominant allele (
) are brown.
) may be brown or have transitional color. The mean frequency of brown coat color in het-
erozygotes is 0.509 and is very variable. The higher the color intensity in black elements of parent coat color,
the more is the offspring coat color saturated with these elements.