Cattanach's insertion (Is(In7;X)1Ct or XCt) includes the normal allele at the albino locus (c+), which is subject to inactivation of the X chromosome carrying it, so that XCtX; c c mice have albino and pigmented patches. The X-autosome translocation T(X;16)16H or XT16H leads to preferential inactivation of the other X chromosome in female cells, so that XCtXT16H; c c mice are almost entirely white. However, they grow darker with age, as if reversal of inactivation of the c+ allele were taking place in increasing numbers of melanocytes. To test whether this is dependent only on age or whether it is related to the number of times the animal has moulted, hair was repeatedly plucked from selected areas at the early telogen stage when the follicles are also removed, assuming that the melanocytes or melanoblasts in that region of the skin would be forced to undergo further divisions to colonize the new follicles. The plucked areas grew darker at the same rate as the rest of the coat, suggesting that the progressive reversal of inactivation is dependent only on age.

As direct examination of melanocytes in the follicles is difficult, they were examined in the choroid and the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of the eye. The frequency of the pigmented cells was lower in the choroid than in the RPE. Since the melanocytes in these structures are different in origin as well as in physical characteristics, it appears that cell type influences either reversal of inactivation, or the frequency with which the influence of the X chromosome extends to the albino locus.

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