The Pearl gene, also known as the "Barlink factor," is a dilution gene that somewhat resembles the cream gene and the champagne gene, but is neither. It is a somewhat rare dilution gene found in various breeds have some Iberian ancestors. It is a recessive gene. If there is only one copy of the gene, it has no effect on black, bay or chestnut horses. If there are two copies, it lightens red coats to a pale, uniform apricot color that includes body, mane and tail and creates pale skin Because of this effect, it was at one time referred to as the "apricot" gene.
The Pearl gene is also known to interact with the cream gene to enhance its effects and, in horses with only one copy of the cream allele, to create "pseudo-double dilutes" Unlike the double cream dilute and the Pearl-cream pseudo dilute the double Pearl dilute typically has dark tan eyes. It is difficult if not impossible to tell a double cream dilute from a Pearl-cream pseudo dilute without genetic testing.