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Chronology of the discovery of the pearl gene

Using date-stamped email.  Other input is requested!

This table is "fleshed out" by more details below it.

(Need date) "Spud" is suspected of being a previously-unknown dilution
Oct 17, 2001 Barlnk Peachs N Cream is suspected of being champagne (Carolyn, who contacted you about her?  Or did you run across her somewhere?)
Oct 17, 2001 Carolyn Shepard sends the ICHR list a picture and pedigree of Barlnk Peachs N Cream, a "palomino" with only "sorrels" in her pedigree, thinking she must be champagne, based on her appearance, but unable to justify it by her pedigree.
Nov 15, 2001 Barbara Kostelnik writes to the ICHR list that she's found an Iberian foal, by Q, that looks champagne (Majodero, a Lusitano/Andalusian cross).  With the help of his breeder, she begins investigating whether he and his sire might be champagne.
2001-2002 Barlnk Peachs N Cream is "tentatively" registered with the ICHR as Gold Champagne (#0044)
May 2002 Raleighs Barlink is brought to the attention of Carolyn Shepard
July 27, 2002 Barlink article published in Champagne Horse Journal by Carolyn Shepard (is this date correct?)
May 2003 Celeste Plitz discovers an unexplained-dilution son of Bravio at Suzan Sommer's Ranch (Tequila).
~Oct 2003 Champagne Horse Journal publishes Carolyn Shepard's article "Champagne Delusions", in which she mentions "Spud factor".
Nov 15, 2003 Carolyn Shepard speculates in a private email to Barbara Kostelnik that Majodero may carry a previously-unknown dilution gene, similar to Barlnk Peachs N Cream.
Apr 14, 2004 Barbara Kostelnik starts the newdilutions list specifically to study then-unknown dilutions
     (and the list has ended up being mostly about this specific dilution.)
Aug 5, 2004 Deb Morgan replies to Barb's question about Champagne in the Peruvian Paso, saying that she has pictures and pedigrees of an unknown dilution factor in the breed (which Deb knew wasn't champagne!)
  We all shared pictures and pedigrees of many horses of the previously-unknown, recessive dilution on the newdilutions list during these intervening years.  Owners of Iberian horses of the new dilution voted to call it "pearl".
Oct 2006 UCDavis announces it has discovered the location of the "Barlink" gene, and has a test for it, calling it "apricot".  This is said to have happened within a week of Carolyn Shepard suggesting they look for it at the cream locus, about which they have never commented.
Oct 2006 Carolyn Shepard joins Barbara Kostelnik on her road trip to Acton, CA to see Guindaleza R.  Carolyn pulls hair from Guindaleza, and sends it to UCDavis, which discovers that "Barlink" and "Pearl" are the same gene.

Here are a few emails that "date-stamp" when certain communications occurred concerning the then-unknown dilution gene. 

(I hope to undo the separation between Iberian and Paint to make a better-flowing story, some day.)

Iberian (Andalusian/Lusitano)

Barb finds an Iberian foal that looks champagne:

ICHR @ YahooGroups Message #10826
Thu Nov 15, 2001 12:49 pm

"B.A.Kostelnik" <>

subject: oh, boy....
They're calling this foal of Q's an Isabella. I wonder if that is in the
French sense, or if he later shed out to pale yellow with a white mane &
tail. You better believe I'm writing this breeder IMMEDIATELY... ;-) In
fact, I just did.


Carolyn Shepard first said "unknown dilution" in relation to Majodero

On 7/15/2003, Carolyn wrote in a private email to Barb K.:

"(His owner had Majodero) color tested at UC Davis. He's a smoky black. She sent a copy of the report. Most interesting...... He's aaEeCrcr. So he's got some other dilution in there. And I don't know what it is. Shades of Barlnk Peachs N Cream.  Maybe the purpose of the ICHR is to discover additional dilution genes that nobody ever knew about before. What should we call this one? The Epoca Factor?"

Also in regard to Iberians: Celeste Plitz first saw Tequila at Suzan Sommer's ranch -- UPDATE: I believe it would have been May 2003.  She apparently received pictures from that visit in January 2004, and so I'm guessing she would have started sending pics of Tequila to the lists, etc. sometime soon after that.  (from searching through old emails/posts)  I think he was only the second unexplained Iberian dilution I had heard of, at that time.

I see that I started the newdilutions list on April 14, 2004 -- Barb (webmaster)

American Paint Horses

Carolyn Shepard finds an unexplained "Palomino" that looks champagne...

Message # 9038
"Carolyn Shepard" <>
Wed Oct 17, 2001 8:01 pm

Here's the little "palomino" with three generations of "sorrel" in her
champagne pedigree. This would have been a pedigree tracing nightmare if I
hadn't known that Billy Van (sire of Pieface) was a champagne. This is her
yearling picture. She's four now. I asked for more pictures.

Carolyn Shepard begins to see a pattern of unexplained dilutions among the Barlink Ranch's horses:

 Message #16377

"Carolyn Shepard" <>
Tue May 14, 2002 3:43 pm
subject: You heard it here, first.....

Hey, guys. In this job, I get to see a lot of interesting horses.
Occasionally, I will notice a "trend." Remember Barlnk Peachs N Cream?
The mare I gave the tentative ICHR registration number to? She's 44T on the
stud book page. Well, she's from two chestnut parents. She had some rather
convincing photos, and just not knowing what to do with her, I gave her a
"tentative" number which means she has to "prove" herself before she gets a
"real" number. I even paid for her DNA parentage verification. She passed.
I was wondering if she was some kind of mutant......
Well, then - someone sent me a photo of a cremello foal, and they were
wondering if it was champagne. One parent was palomino, the other chestnut,
and closely related to the dam of Barlnk Peachs N Cream. Hmmmmm. Then I
was sent photos of ANOTHER cremello foal, with a palomino sire, and a dam
related to the dam of Barlnk Peachs N Cream.......... Okay. That's a
"trend."  Something is going on here!!!!!
Anyway, photos of skin were traded, stories were traded. We waited for
the cremello foals to get dark skin, and turn into palominos. They didn't.
I talked to Wendy Bockman. She informed me that UC Davis has "found" the
cream gene, and they are working on a test for it!!! <snipped here>

Her article (Microsoft document) about it is stamped July 27, 2002.


Here's the first time I heard about the phenomenon in the Paso breeds; in this case, it was Peruvian Pasos where it was first noticed, and I found out about it through Deb Morgan.

Deb Morgan  writes to Barb K on  Thu, 05 Aug 2004:

As far as Champagne, in the Peruvian Paso breed,... I have not, yet, found evidence that it exists (but am still looking).

However, what does seem to exist is the non-cream factor which makes palominos appear to be cremello, chestnuts appear to be "palomino", etc... being mistaken as champagne... but do not fall under all the criteria for being a champagne (i.e. neither parent being champagne, etc.).

A couple of Peruvian Paso "Cremellos" were proven to be, genetically, palomino (only one Ccr gene) via testing at UC Davis... though they had cremello coloring, pink skin, amber or hazel eyes (blue at first), even some mottling, etc.

Will be contacting some others who have "cremellos", etc., though parentage shows they cannot be cremello (such as progeny from chestnut x buckskin, bay x palomino, etc. who produced so called cremellos/perlinos). Some of these are darker than cremello... more akin to a "dark" perlino with metallic sheen. Will also seek out "palominos" who should not be, genetically, palomino.

The above is an email written by Deb Morgan.



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