Friday, May 14, 2010

More on genetics

Since I know I'm not the best teacher (ie: I don't explain things that well), I'll post some links to articles about alpaca genetics.

I want to preface this by saying that I did read over these articles. Most are factual. There also are some opinions in there. I can't say I agree with everything in these links 100%. So, don't take my posting a link as me saying "this is the best information ever". I think any information can be useful, but I do encourage after you read it, to consider what it is saying, and come to your own conclusion. I am, of course, always interested in a neat discussion about these things, so feel free to post a comment or send me an email. I'd love to chat about it.

Alpaca Color Genetics

Alpaca Color Genetics: The Genetics of White Markings

Jiggling Genes

Color Inheritance by Gene Linkage

I also wanted to add:

I find genetics very interesting, especially alpaca color genetics. I am always eager to find new articles and information on it. J and I both like genetics, do a lot of reading on it, and often shake our head at things other alpaca farmers say. Our favorite quote is one farmer who stated "you never know what color you will get" (in reference to the color of a cria). Ummm, most of the time we do know. Now, we don't know for sure which color the parents will pass on, but we know the possibilities available. The only cria we have had born on our farm that was a surprise is Pocahontas. We did not expect a modern rose grey (even though she has shown as an indefinite dark, the only difference between the two is how many grey fibers are displayed, the same genes are at work, it's only a matter of degree that determines the number of grey fibers vs other colors). But, even the alpaca color genetic experts say they are not sure how those genes work (modern grey). Looking at her pedigree, we can see a lot of grey. Maybe it's a case that each of her parents has a grey gene hiding (recessive grey). Some say that grey isn't recessive, so having grey ancestry doesn't matter. Her dad is black, her mother is brown with a black secondary. The outcomes should be: bb x Bb = bB, bb, Bb, bb. She had a 50% chance of being brown (B), and 50% chance of being black (b). The other explanation is that Kateri could herself be a rose grey (she does have some grey on her back line, and sprinkled other places all over her body). We've read mixed reviews on if Kateri herself could be a rose grey (poorly expressed) or not. Some say at her age this is due to old age (it did not appear until she was 4 years old). But even then, we've read that modern greys are unlikely to pass on grey, so even if Kateri is a rose grey, this is not a typical outcome. I figure it was all a lucky fluke, because I REALLY wanted a dark rose grey and Pocahontas is everything I so wanted, in a cute package. For now, I'll take luck as the reason, but you bet I will continue to seek out exactly how it happened.

There are still many questions we don't know about. I do think overall we are more knowledgeable than the average alpaca farmer on this topic (mostly because of our interest in it, I know not everyone enjoys learning about it like we do). We really do sit around and talk about secondary colors and dilution gene and so forth :) But, I also know we do not know everything. So things I've posted, this is just my understanding of it at this time. Anything is subject to change, as new information is gathered.

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