A melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene polymorphism is useful for authentication of Massese sheep dairy products

Baldassare Portolano, Luca Fontanesi, Francesca Beretti, Vincenzo Russo, Stefania Dall'Olio, Donato Matassino, Vincenzo Russo

Risultato della ricerca: Articlepeer review

17 Citazioni (Scopus)


Massese is an Italian sheep breed, with black or grey coat colour, mainly reared in the Tuscany and Emilia Romagna regions. Recently, the emerging interests in this breed have resulted in the production of Pecorino cheese obtained with only Massese milk. In order to be profitable, thismarketing link between Massese breed and its products should be defended against fraudsters who could include milk of other sheep breeds or cow milk in Massese labelled productions. To identify the genetic factors affecting coat colour in sheep, we have recently analysed the melanocortin 1 receptor(MC1R) gene and identified several single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). In this work, as a first step to set up a DNA based protocol for authentication of Massese dairy products, we further investigated the presence and distribution of one of these SNPs (c.-31G>A) in 143 Massese sheep and in another 13 sheep breeds (for a total of 351 animals). The Massese breed was fixed for allele c.-31A, whereas in all other breeds allele c.-31 G was the most frequent or with frequency of 0·50. At the same nucleotide position the cattle MC1R gene carries the G nucleotide. Using these data we developed a method to detect adulterating milk (from other sheep breeds or from cow) in Massesedairy products based on the analysis of the c.-31G>A SNP. We first tested the sensitivity of the protocol and then applied it to analyse DNA extracted from ricotta and Pecorino cheese obtained with only Massese milk or obtained with unrestricted sheep and cattle milk. To our knowledge, this system represents the first one that can be used for breed authentication of a sheep production and that, at the same time, can reveal frauds derived from the admixture of milk of an unreported species.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)122-128
Numero di pagine7
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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