New horse coat color pattern called 'ýruskjóttur' discovered in Iceland

(CNN)Horses have been in Iceland since the time of the Vikings -- and thanks to the country's strict laws, they've been purebred for over 1,000 years.

But now, a new coat pattern has emerged.
Icelandic horse breeder, Baldur Eiðsson, said he couldn't believe it when the horse, Ellert, was born with a white splattering on his body. The stallion, he says, should have been either bay dun, or blue dun -- like its parents.
"It's not possible to get pinto colors from two one colored parents," Eiðsson told CNN Sport.
    Ellert, who was born five years ago, takes after his mother's color. But instead of having the typical characteristics of a bay dun Icelandic horse -- with a bay dun body, black mane, tail and primitive markings -- he is "speckled" white, has a bald white face and partial icy blue eyes.
    As well as his unique coat coloring, Ellert also has blue and brown eyes.
    Freyja Imsland, a genetic expert in Iceland who has worked closely with Eiðsson, explained how Ellert's variant is one-of-a-kind.
    "What makes Ellert unique is that he has a variant that is only present in him and his offspring -- this particular change doesn't exist in any other horse in the world," she said.
    The stallion comes from an outstanding blood line, Eiðsson said, bred from honor-winning blue dun sire Sær frá Bakkakoti and bay dun dam Kengála frá Búlandi. He added that both horses have produced first-class offspring.
    "This is unbelievably lucky because these two blood lines are two of the best breeding blood lines in Iceland, coming together to make this beautiful stallion," Eiðsson added.

    Breeding mistake?

    Eiðsson said when he was born, they originally thought there had been a mistake during breeding.
    "We thought it was a mix up, that the mother had maybe gone to the wrong stallion," Eiðsson said.
    "So we put him to DNA testing and Sær was definitely his father and his mother was Kengála."
    From there, they carried out genetic testing on Ellert to find out why he was born such a different color to his parents.
    Eiðsson said that as a result, they found out Ellert had developed a gene mutation which created this pattern across his body.
    "We call it 'ýruskjóttur' which translates to 'speckle'," he added.
    Ellert's DNA was sent to Tosso Leeb, professor and director of the Institute of Genetics at the University of Bern.
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