Albino Gorilla Snowflake Was Inbred: Study

June 17, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

An albino gorilla who lived for decades in Spain’s Barcelona Zoo was colored that way due to inbreeding, researchers said Monday.

The gorilla, named Snowflake, was born in the wild and later was captured by villagers in in Equatorial Guinea in 1966. He died of skin cancer in 2003.

Spanish sequenced the gorilla’s entire genome, finding that the gorilla was likely the child of an uncle and niece, reported LiveScience. Snowflake inherited the mutant, albino gene known as SLC45A2 from both his parents.

The SLC45A2 is known to cause albinism in horses, mice, chickens, and other animals.

Tomas Marques-Bonet with the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva at the University of Pompeu Fabra and other researchers sequenced Snowflake’s entire genome, according to the website.