Evidence points to faulty pigment gene passed to grey squirrel from fox squirrel
Research published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology has shed new light on why some grey squirrels are black.
The study was led by Dr Helen McRobie of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), who has previously mapped the spread of black squirrels across the UK. Black squirrels are the same species as grey squirrels, with the only difference being their fur colour.
The new work builds on Dr McRobie’s research from 2014, which found that the black fur is caused by the grey squirrel having a pigment gene with a missing piece of DNA. MORE