Color Genetics

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TinysMom

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We have some folks here who are new breeders - so I thought it might be nice to share some information about color & genetics. Much of what I've learned - I've learned from reading various books and numerous PMs with Pam Nock, an ARBA judge and former member here.

I am really good at certain parts of color genetics...and horrid at others. I'm hoping that someone who knows more will add on to this thread and perhaps get folks talking.

Ok....there are 5 main "genes" that make up color in a rabbit. (As I type every sentence I think to myself and silently pray, "Oh Lord...please let me phrase this right..").

The first gene is the "A" gene or "series" as Rabbit Production puts it. There are three options for this:

A - Agouti

a[suP]t[/suP] - Tan

a - Non -Agouti

(I am using Rabbit Production as my source right now).

I amNOT good at the A gene/series at all - so I'm just going to share that much and this little bit....and then move on.

Each rabbit will get one gene from itsfather (sire) and one gene from its mother (dam). So it would be possible if you mated an Agoutibuck with a tan doe to get a baby that was Aa[suP]t[/suP]for example....taking the A from the buck and the a[suP]t[/suP] from the doe.
In genetics - the DOMINANT gene will have a capital letter used to represent it - meaning that this baby would look like an Agouti rabbit - even though it has the tan gene hidden (and that could come out in a future generation.

~~

Now let's go to a gene/series I understand! The B series!

B = black

b = brown

Now I know - you're reading this and going, "What about blue rabbits and lilac rabbits?". Well - you'll see how we get them later - but for now - trust me please that there are ONLY two major colors - black and brown - and that black is dominant. If you mate a black rabbit with a brown rabbit.....you're going to get a black rabbit that carries the brown gene (Bb).

~~~~

The C series really throws me - so I'm simply going to throw it out and let others explain it. I still really struggle with it and just can't seem to get a handle on it. The C series deals with shading...

C = full color

C[suP]chd[/suP] = dark chinchilla

C[suP]chm[/suP] = medium chinchilla (I'm not sure I've seen this one in other books I've read on genetics)

C[suP]chl[/suP] = light chinchilla

c[suP]h [/suP]= himilayan

c = albino

Let's say you take a sire with the C gene and a doe with the C[suP]chl [/suP]gene. The resulting baby (only thinking of one baby as an example here) will be a CC[suP]chl[/suP] genetically.

I sure hope we have someone here who knows more about the C gene.

~~~

Now - the "D" gene....another one I understand. "D" stands for density of color from what I understand. A "D" rabbit has dense color throughout the coat. "d" which is recessive has diluted color.

Let's go back to our rabbit who is a B (black). Please remember that each rabbit has two sets of 5 genes each (ABCDE) that it gets from its parents...

The Black rabbit who has at least one B will look black - AS LONG as it does not have dd for the density (taking one "d" from mom and one "d" from dad).

IF .. the rabbit with the B (Black) gene - has the "dd" - then you have a blue rabbit.

Now - let's take the "b" rabbit (brown). If it has the "DD" or "Dd" genes- it will be brown. However, if it gets the "d" gene from both parents and is "dd" - then it is considered a lilac rabbit.

So - it is the B and D genes working together that produce the four self colors of black, blue, brown & lilac.

~~~

Finally - the "E" gene....another one I struggle with. The possibilities are (in the order of dominance):

E[suP]d[/suP] = dominant black agouti

E[suP]s[/suP] = steel agouti

E = agouti

e[suP]j[/suP] = harlequin (WOO HOO - one of my favorites)

e = red or yellow

~~~~

There are other major coat color genes in addition to these and I don't have time to explain them so I'm going to just type them out...(I'm starting to fall asleep finally).

du = dutch

DU = normal

du[suP]d[/suP] = Dark dutch, minimal spotting

du[suP]w[/suP] = White dutch, excessive spotting



En = English

En = English Spotting

en = normal

si = Silver

Si = Normal

si = silver coat surface

v = Viennese White

V = normal

v = white coat, blue eyes

w = Wide Band

W = Normal Agouti band

w = wide agouti band



I'm going to include a picture of a doe that has the Viennese gene here so you can see how it would affect a rabbit if they were Vv. (A vv is a blue eyed white).




Ok .... genetics buffs and those who have questions.....let's talk if anyone is interested!

Peg

P.S. I used pgs. 337 - 346 in the 6th edition of Rabbit Production to glean the information in this format!

 

SunnieBunnie Rabbitry

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I soo LOVE genetics discussions (Peg, I hope you don't mind a Novel here...lol :D, I'll elaborate on what you've already posted).

Before I begin, keep in mind that if a gene it is listed higher on the order, it will overshadow the lower modifier (gene). Meaning that the higher (dominant)gene on the order will show itself and "cover up" any of the other lower (recessive) genes beneathiton the order. In order for a lower gene (recessive) to show (express) itself, there MUST be two copies of that gene or a combination of that gene and one of a lower order (if any are below). And we are talking colors here, not breeds ;)

Every rabbit carries two gene copies in a given Locus (Series). It is a random guess what each parent will contribute to their offspring - BUT there is only two possibilities as they can only carry twocopies (allele's)out of the numerous gene possibilities available. Or even plainer: Every rabbit has a pair of every modifier (series), NO modifiers can be left out of any sequence.


The "A" locus (series) = Coat Pattern

There areonly three patters of coat in rabbits, and it's pretty basic...

A = Agouti Pattern ::: Examples: Castor (Chestnut), Opal, Lynx
a[suP]t[/suP] = Tan Pattern ::: Examples: Otter's, Silver Marten's
a = Self Pattern ::: Examples: Black,Blue, Chocolate, Lilac

So, if you breed Self to Self, you will NEVER get a Tan pattern or Agouti pattern. If you breed Self to Tan or Tan to Tan, you will NEVER get an Agouti pattern.


moving on....

The "B" locus (series) =Color Base

Rabbits come in ONLY 2 colors - Black and Chocolate. No more, no less... For ever and ever, amen. Everything else that appearsnot to be Black or Chocolate is a result of genetic modifications of these two colors.

B = Black Color Base ::: Examples: Black, Blue, Castor (Chestnut), Opal
b = Chocolate Color Base ::: Examples: Chocolate, Lilac, Lynx


moving on....

The "C" locus (series) =Color Expression

This series accounts for a lot of unusual patterns that you think "prove" there are more than three coat patterns. In the lower 3 modifiers, there can be some interactions between the C series modifiers that allow for a different result than strictly "all or nothing". I will explain each when we get there.

C = Full Color
C[suP]chd[/suP] = Dark Chinchilla Gene
C[suP]chl[/suP] = Light Chinchilla Gene
ch = Himalayan (Himi)
c = Albino (REW or Red Eyed White)

Again, if higher on the order - it will overshadow the lower modifier (gene) - or - the two will interact to produce an appearance different than what the higher (dominant) gene would indicate.

The Full Color "C" gene will overpower ANY other C-series modifier and allow color to develop as indicated by dilution, color base, and coat pattern.

Every single hair shaft is "painted" with3 Yellows (or Fawns), then covered with4 Blacks (or Chocolates).

Full Color is just that... 3 Yellow (or Fawn)"shots" and 4 Black (or Chocolate) "shots".

Dark Chinchilla "C[suP]chd[/suP]" gene removes all but1 Yellow shot but leaves the Black alone (4 shots). This is what makes a Castor (Chestnut Agouti) become a Chinchilla. The Yellow (Red or Tan) bands, eye circles, etc. become "pearl" or nearly white. Otters become Silver Martens and Solids (Selfs) show no change because there is nowhere for the Yellow (or lighter Yellow) to "show through".

Light Chinchilla "C[suP]chl[/suP]" gene removes ALL the Yellow shots and lightens the Black shots down to2 shots rather than the full 4, which gives the appearance of Brown. This is what makes Selfs become Seal, Tan pattern becomes a Seal Silver Marten, and the Agouti becomes a Brown looking Chinchilla Agouti. However, if only 1 "C[suP]chl[/suP]" gene is inherited with one of the lower modifiers (c[suP]h[/suP] or c), the Self becomes a Sable, the Tan pattern becomes a Sable Marten, and the Agouti becomes a very light brown Chinchilla Agouti. The "shading" of the darker etremities happens because the fur on the head, ears, feet, and flank spreads the 2 shots of Black over a smaller area than on the longer fur. That's what makes the color look nearly black or very dark brown in the shaded areas.

Himalayan (Himi)"c[suP]h[/suP]" gene "covers up" ALL color development except on the ears, nose, feet, and tail... regardless of coat pattern, dilution, or color, so in other words, what shows through in the colored area's is what would be there if NO "c[suP]h[/suP]" were there. So, in turn, the Californians &/or Himalayans are either Self, Tan pattern, or Agouti - however the only ARBA acceptable ones are the Self. If you want todetermine which combination your Himi is (besides testbreeding), Agouti and Tan pattern Himi's have a lighter tail bottoms than Selfs, their nostrils, and inside of their legs are lighter and their ears are lighter on the insides. Since we're discussing the markings on Himi's, I'll also add that if each parent contributes a "c[suP]h[/suP]" gene, making the rabbit "c[suP]h[/suP]c[suP]h[/suP]", it's markings will be correct, BUT if a copy of the "c" gene is inherited, the nose markings will be smaller, the foot markings will cut across the foot (not up to the ankles where it should be), and the color will be a little lighter.

Albino (REW)"c" gene "covers up" ALL color from the rabbit, period,regardless of any other modifiers present. They STILL HAVE all the other modifiers, but due to the Albino (REW) genes - are unable to show (express) it. The only way to "bring out" those "hidden recessives" is to test breed for them. REW bred to REW willONLY produce more REW's... Forever.


moving on....

The "D" locus (series) =ColorDilution


Back to the basics again... there are only 2 things that can happen to express color. The colors can be either Full (Intense) or Faded (Dilute). Black can bediluted to Blue and Chocolate can be diluted to Lilac.

D = Intense Color Dilution::: Examples: Black, Castor (Chestnut), Chocolate
d = Dilute Color Dilution ::: Examples: Blue, Opal, Lilac, Lynx

Again, in order for the lower to show, there must be 2 copies of the recessive inherited by the parents (one from each parent). "DD" and "Dd" will be an Intense colored rabbit, while "dd" is a Dilute colored rabbit.


moving on....

The "E" locus (series) =ColorPigment Extension


There are 4 genes in the hierarchy of this series...

E[suP]s[/suP] = Steel
E = Normal
e[suP]j[/suP] = Japanese
e = non extension

Steel "E[suP]s[/suP]" extension genecauses partial extension of the Black pigment (Think back to the "shots" we discussed earlier) into the intermediate Agouti color band.The narrow band of Red or Gray color in this zone is referred to as Steel coloration. However,2 inherited copies of this gene shows only traces to no steel coloring making the rabbit appearentirely black. It is the combination of"E[suP]s[/suP]E" that produces the ideal steel coloring.

Normal "E" extension gene is basically a "No Effect" or Normal color extension.

(Are you paying attention Peg? ;))....
Japanese "e[suP]j[/suP]" extension gene is the Japanese "brindling" gene... it is this gene that produces the Harlequin marked rabbits. It produces alternating patches of color to appear throughout the body.

Nonextension "e" extension gene takes the Black, Blue, Chocolate, or Lilac from the undercolor and surface, leaving a Yellow hair shaft and lighter undercolor. This is the "Shading" we see on Tortoise and Sable Points (for example), and shows that this gene is not totally successful in removing ALL the color, resulting in "smut". This gene is what turns Selfs into Torts (of Black, Blue, Chocolate, or Lilac varieties), Castors (Chestnut Agouti) is turned into Orange's (no, not the fruit :shock:), Opals are turned to Fawns. In addition, when the "C[suP]chl[/suP]" gene is present, we get Seal or Sable Points.


moving on....

The "En"gene =English Spotting or "Broken" gene

En = Broken pattern
en = Normal/Self/Solid patern

The only thing to really know here (other than this gene is the Broken gene) is the following:

Self = "enen"
Normal Brokens = "Enen"
Charlie Brokens = "EnEn"

When this gene is combined with the "e[suP]j[/suP]" Japanese brindling gene - you get Tri's (Tri Colored rabbits)

Broken Breeding Guide:
Self x Self = 100% Self
Charlie x Charlie = 100% Charlie
Charlie X Self = 100% Broken
Broken x Self = 50% Broken, 50% Self, 0% Charlie
Broken x Charlie = 50% Broken, 50% Charlie, 0% Self
Broken x Broken = 50% Broken, 25% Self, 25% Charlie

(Charlie = little to no color spots, often having only a "spot" of color on the nose... a "Charlie Chaplin" type marking, hence the name "Charlie".)


moving on....

The "W"gene =Wideband

W = Normal banding ::: Examples: Castor, Opal
w = Widebanded ::: Examples: Red, Fawn

This gene widens the intermediate Agouti band almost double the size and produces the rufous red effect that is desired in the Castor intermediate band & in Reds as well as removes the undercolor, leaving a White/Creamy to the skinbelly & undercolor in Agouti's. There is no changes to the Self varieties as there is no intermediate band to widen. Tan patterns see the effect in coloring, NOT on the body, but the trim only.


moving on....

The "V"gene =Viennese White or Vienna Gene


V = Normal

v = Vienna White (BEW or Blue Eyed White)

This can be a tricky gene - so I'll just touch on it so not to confuse too much. Blue Eyed White's can only be produced when two "v" gene's are inherited. A rabbit inheriting "Vv" shows a Broken rabbit (different from the "En" English spotting gene) which looks like a dutch marked rabbit.


moving on to some others....

The "du" Dutch locus and "si" Silver locus whichPeg referred to in the previous post I will not go in to as it does get very complicated without the basic knowledge and understandingof the above detailed genes and how they work together.

There are also the Coat structure genes:

Furless
F = Normal
f = Furless

Angora
L = Normal
l = Long Hair, Wool

Rex
R = Normal
r = Short Hair, Rex

Satin
Sa = Normal
sa = Thin Hair, Satin

Waved
Wa = Normal
wa = Waved Hair, Astrex

as well as the "Other"genes (a couple for reference)

Dwarf (Peanut)
D[suB]w[/suB] = Dwarf
d[suB]w[/suB] = Normal

Hydrocephalus
Hy = Normal
hy = Hydrocephalus


For genetic codes of various color varieties, I have a spreadsheet in Microsoft Word format for Mini Rex varieties (colors also apply to other breeds) here:

Black Based Colors

Chocolate Based Colors



I should also mention some terms used when discussing genetics...

Genotype = Genes
Phenotype = Looks (Looks like __ colored rabbit)
Homozygous = Two copies of a particular gene in a given series
Heterozygous = One copy of a particular gene in a given series
 

TinysMom

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Awesome resources....both what you shared and your charts.....I will be printing them up for my notebook!

Peg
 

Nadezhda

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I did genetics in Grade 10 biology! I don't know how this translates into bunnies, but in biology we did a diagram to see the chances of what happening. To use B and b as an example:

Two bunnies with the genes Bb (Dominant black, recessive brown)

You would then do a diagram

Mommy
B b

D B BB Bb
a
d b Bb bb

If you can see, you cross what momma's genes are with dad's genes. If you have a doe and buck, both with Bb genes you can see that each baby has:

- 1 in 4 chance (25%) of being a black bunny with the genes BB, no brown at all
- 1 in 4 chance (25%) of being a brown bunny, as there is no dominant gene in bb
-1 in 2 (2 in 4) (50%) chance of being a black bunny, carrying a recessive gene.

So if your doe has four kits, you can say that it is most likely that you will have one brown baby, and three black babies, two of which carry a recessive gene (that could show up in later generations if mated with a black bunny with a recessive gene, or a brown bunny)

I hope I haven't confused anybody, and wonder if this is the same for bunnies? I think it probably would, as half the chromosomes come from each parent.
 

naturestee

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That's true for all living things, but genetics aren't always that clear cut. Along with the basic straight-cut dominant and recessive, there are also co-dominant genes, partially dominant genes, and lots of traits that are controlled by multiple genes. It gets pretty crazy. I wish I still had my Genetics textbook from college- there was a good example of coat color in dogs where multiple sets of genes played a role and it was a good explanation.

Oh, and sex-linked genes make things wierd too.Does anyoneknow ofsex-linked genes in rabbits? Aside from the basic genitalia and dewlaps and such.
 

Nadezhda

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Naturestee - thats why I used the simplest example of a dominant and recessive gene, instead of bouncing around to those co-dependent and mixes and stuff.

I shoved a lot of things arounf a few days ago looking for Oreo's old cage in the basement, so I might be able to root through and find some bio textbooks with genealogy in them : D

Oh wait, I have my Gr 12 bio book right here, I wonder if it has something in it...

EDIT- Nope, nothing useful. LOL. I'll try to find my parents college and uni books tomorrow
 

TinysMom

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Nadezhda wrote:
So if your doe has four kits, you can say that it is most likely that you will have one brown baby, and three black babies, two of which carry a recessive gene (that could show up in later generations if mated with a black bunny with a recessive gene, or a brown bunny)

I hope I haven't confused anybody, and wonder if this is the same for bunnies? I think it probably would, as half the chromosomes come from each parent.
Yep - it sure is the same way for bunnies. I find the genetics so interesting - especially when you consider the genetics not only for the color but for hair type.

For instance, I had some bunnies pop up that have what is called "astrex" fur. It is very very different from normal lionhead fur - and it is pretty rare too. (You can google it to find out more information).

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I emailed the buck's original breeder and found out that sometimes my other Blue buck would throw the astrex fur when mated with another blue doe. (Both of the blues had come from three generations of blue parents). My buck who threw it (and who I later realized had the astrex fur and I had always wondered why he had softer, shorter fur) - was lilac. So...that tends to make me wonder if the astrex gene is somehow tied to the "d" gene (small d in particular).

I do enjoy genetics and one of my favorite books is "Color Coat Genetics" by Glenna Huffmon (Huffman?)....

Peg
 

Nadezhda

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I've been thinking lately about what I'm going to get into when I get out of school, and one thing that's been popping up has been bunnies. One of my mom's homecare workers, after seeing me take care of Oreo for sevral days, asked me if I was going to be a vet. I'd never thought of it! One thing I had been considering is rabbit breeding. Are there any types of courses that I could take at a secondary school that anyone could recommend me to?
 

naturestee

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Some colleges have animal husbandry programs. Genetics, biology, and immunology courses would probably help you. Although rabbit breeding is usually a hobby. From what I know, few breeders make money without selling mass amounts to pet stores through a distributor or breeding for meat.
 

TinysMom

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Nadezhda wrote:
One thing I had been considering is rabbit breeding.
I think the idea of being a vet or even a vet tech is good. At least you earn money that way!!!

I hope you know that breeders don't really "make" money - or at least not a large amount of money. Well - let me say that sort of cautiously...

I'm sure that the top breeders make money and not only break even but see a decent profit. I know that the top lionheads in the states can be $150 and up. I think I paidaround $1000 for my beginning stock - not counting cages - just the rabbits that I purchased from several breeders. On top of that you have cages, hay (some breeders don't use hay except for certain cases because it is more messy), food, vet visits, etc.

I know that last year I lost money - and I think this year I will be on target to just about break even - partly because the quality of my animals is improving.

Something else that you need to consider is that sometimes breeders will have to put a rabbit down. Will you be able to make that decision? I know that I can't. I have two bucks here from a situation where I bred their parents without knowing that they carried the gene for malcolussion. Most breeders I know consider me foolish for keeping them - but I will NOT rehome them. I am responsible for their birth...and I can not trust someone to trim their teeth like we do. Very few people are really willing to do that. SO - I no longer breed their parents AND I give these guys a home and love. Art & I talked yesterday about them - and we decided that it takes $10-$12 PER YEAR to feed each one - plus the cage space. We can do that...

That is also something you will need to consider as a vet or vet tech. When my daughter was 10 or so - she thought about studying to be a vet - but she recognized that ethically she couldn't bring herself the euthanize an animal. Since then, she's realized she could do it if it was necessary - but realizes that the "trauma" of it to her emotions is more than she can handle. I think that was a wise choice for her.

Peg
 

Nadezhda

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I realize breeding wouldn't make money... But it would be an excuse to have lots of bunnies!

As for a vet or a vet tech, it's something I could do. If an animal is in pain, and doesn't have a chance to get better, I can understand euthanisation, and would probably get teary, but could do it. Sometimes it's better than to let the animal suffer.

This is something I will look into. If I go into something like that, all my English teachers will cry! Even my principal remarked on how all of my classes are humanities, except Biology :p
 

TinysMom

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Nadezhda wrote:
As for a vet or a vet tech, it's something I could do. If an animal is in pain, and doesn't have a chance to get better, I can understand euthanisation, and would probably get teary, but could do it. Sometimes it's better than to let the animal suffer.

Just to let you know - many of the most successful breeders euthanize for other reasons...like wrong eye color - or a mismark - or malcolussion or bad body type (not show standard). You'll also deal with breeders who sell their culls for meat instead of petting them out....and on and on the list goes.

I'm not saying don't become a breeder. I love being a breeder - most of the time. I have yet to put down a rabbit (although I have had some die).

But I just wanted you to know what it *can* be like.

Peg
 

babbs

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For all you genectics junkies! =)

I can't seem to find enough information on the wideband gene color orange. I have read and read the book "Color Genetics" by Bobby Schott, but get a headache when trying to take it all in. I have the basics down, I think.

My question and reason for rambling,

What are some of the possible offspring with a blue tort and an orange? There is blue, orange, black, fawn, opal, chestnut, and sable point in the does background and orange and tort in the bucks. I have the Evans software but don't really rely on the genectics part of it. This is for fuzzy lops, by the way.

Thanks for any help.

Also, thought I should add that I have not bred them yet. I wanted to know if the match would be good first.


 

lanna21974

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Which one is the blue tort, and which one is the orange? I'm asking because if the blue tort is the buck...who only has orange and tort in his background, then you'll have a chance of dilutes (more blue tort and possible cream). Looks like the dam could possible carry dilute. Is her sire or dam the blue in her background?

Since both blue tort and orange are nonextension colors...you'll only have more nonextension colors...blue tort, tort, orange, fawn, cream.If both carry (c)chl you have a chance or seal point...probably not accepted in AFL's.
 

babbs

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The doe is the blue tort. Hmmm, fawn or cream are not recognized in afls so I think this would not be a good match.

Man.:?The orange buck looks great and I have nothing in my barn that I think would be a good match.

I don't have the complete pedegree on the buck yet, (will have it next week) but Evans lists the doe as: aa B-C- dd ee Enen

Thanks for the info.
 

lanna21974

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Did they change the SOP? I dont have the new one yet but in the old one fawn is an accepted color.

Sincethe doe is the blue tort, your chances of cream are smaller. (Iwas pretty sure creamwasnt accepted.)If the buck doesnt carry dilute then you wont get anycream...is he proven? If so,has he ever produced dilute? If you're worried about getting a cream then you could try a black tort doe if you have one. Chestnut would work well, as well asblack(this might produce some smut though). I'd stay away from non extension dilutesor anything that carries diluteand nonextension if you dont want cream.


 

SunnieBunnie Rabbitry

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babbs wrote:
For all you genectics junkies! =)

I can't seem to find enough information on the wideband gene color orange. I have read and read the book "Color Genetics" by Bobby Schott, but get a headache when trying to take it all in. I have the basics down, I think.

My question and reason for rambling,

What are some of the possible offspring with a blue tort and an orange? There is blue, orange, black, fawn, opal, chestnut, and sable point in the does background and orange and tort in the bucks. I have the Evans software but don't really rely on the genectics part of it. This is for fuzzy lops, by the way.

Thanks for any help.

Also, thought I should add that I have not bred them yet. I wanted to know if the match would be good first.
Instead of listing what's in the background (although somewhat helpful), It's MOST helpful to list what the parents are for the Buck and the Doe in order to be able to better calculate the possible offspring varieties. (This helps narrow down some recessives).

Blue Tort Doe (Without knowing parentage) = aa B_ C_ dd ee
Orange Buck (Without knowing parentage) = A_ B_ C_ D_ ee ww

Possible Offspring based on what's currently known (For Sure Offspring Possibilities):

Orange (Aa B_ C_ Dd ee _w)
Cream (Aa B_ C_ dd ee _w)
Black Tort (aa B_ C_ Dd ee _w)
Blue Tort (aa B_ C_ dd ee _w)






 

babbs

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, Florida, USA
Hello Sunnie Bunnie,

blue tort- dam is broken orange and the sire is blue tort.

Orange buck- dam is broken orange and the sire is black tort.
 
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