Scary Color Genetics :: Thistle

I feel like I’ve learned so much about rabbits in such a short time. Today I have been trying (very very hard) to teach myself about the complexity of rabbit color genetics. It is so much easier for me when I have something to look at and compare to examples I am being given. I am a tactile learner, so reading text doesn’t put a clear picture in my head. I need to see, note, and classify.

What I have done today, thanks to Three Little Ladies Rabbitry’s site, is put together the color genetics of my three rabbits. Once I took notes from TLL Rabbitry’s site I looked at Thistle’s pedigree. Thistle was probably the hardest to come up with because he is a Ruby-Eyed White (REW). I have learned that a REW is just masking other color traits.

Imagine dipping a colored rabbit into white paint. Obviously you don’t really want to do this… But theoretically, it would be difficult to tell what color is underneath or what color babies that rabbit is able to have until you breed them. That is where I’m at.

Thistle’s genetic color sequence is: aa B_ cc D_ EE

“aa”: the most recessive Agouti gene. This means he got an “a” from each parent making him fully “self”. His hair is one color throughout his body and the individual hairs are also one color. If he had just one of the more dominate genes, either “A” or “at”, he would be chinchilla colored or colored with a white underside respectively. Since he has two of the recessive “a” genes he is all one color.

“Bb”: the Black/brown gene. Thistle has one known gene, dominant Black. His second gene in this set (one comes from each parent) could be either a “B” for black or a “b” for brown/chocolate. We won’t know until he throws out some black and or chocolate kits because of that masking REW gene below.

“cc”: the Color Saturation gene. He has two of the most recessive genes here as well which makes him a REW. “c” is the also known as the albino version of the gene. If he had just one of the more dominant genes (“C”, “cchd”, “cchl”, or “ch”) he would be full color, chinchilla dark, chinchilla light, or pointed-white respectively. Instead he has two of the albino “c” genes which is the only way you get a REW.

“D_”: the Dilution of Color gene. “D” is full strength and “d” is diluted. Here is where it gets a little messy. When I do Punnett squares to figure out this gene Thistle has a 50% chance of being “DD” and a 50% of being “Dd”. Since I don’t know what the second gene is I put in a place marker until I figure it out with future litters

“EE”: the Extension of Color gene. With “E” the color extends fully along each hair, “ES” extends dark color, “e” extends light color, and “ej” makes the harlequin coloring. Thistle’s father and mother are both “EE” which makes it easy to tell that he is as well.

Look at that! We just painfully joyfully went through color genetics for a rabbit using a 3-generation pedigree. Aren’t we fancy!

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