A Link Between Staple Length and Depth of Color
As part of our work using data from the AOA EPD database to examine whether fleece color affects the expression of fleece traits, we looked at the relationship between color and the EPDs for staple length for over 1300 males in the EPD database. We found a pattern that suggests that faster fleece growth rates have a visible dilutive effect on the color we see in fawn, beige and white animals, by increasing the length of the hair relative to the amount of pigment produced to color it.
This means that two animals with identical genotypes for color (and similar environments, etc.) could have phenotypically different colors if their fleece growth rates were different: The one with faster fleece growth would appear lighter than the one with slower growth.
The implications for breeding decisions? We discuss some of them in our library article on this topic. Enjoy!