Are family repeats in pedigree bad?

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Mini Lop Mama

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Are family repeats in pedigree bad? I have heard that breeding more closely related rabbits also produces better rabbits as there is a smaller gene pool to work with. It wouldn't be a massive repeat, just 1 or 2? Is that bad?
 

judymac

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There has always been debate about the merits of out-crossing vs. linebreeding. Out-crossing brings in new genetics for breeding, hoping to enlarge the gene pool. Linebreeding starts with an outstanding individual rabbit, and then intensifies those genetics in the succeeding generations, often by breeding an outstanding buck or doe to one of its offspring; or an uncle to a niece. This instead limits the gene pool, but hopefully limits it to a more and more consistent gene pool of desirable traits. Generally, breeding siblings is not encouraged, so much as going back to an older generation closer to that outstanding rabbit. Once the stock is sufficiently increased, breeding between cousins works, too. Increasing the genetics in the smaller, more focused gene pool, will increase both good and bad traits. The way linebreeding works, is to cull out the bad genetics and keep improving the good stuff by keeping the very best of the offspring in the breeding program.

This is not the same as inbreeding, where you simply mate related rabbits with no plan of improvement, often siblings. Now don't get me wrong, I have sometimes bred siblings in order to keep a special bloodline intact, with good effect. But again, you need to be willing to cull out the rabbits that don't meet your standards in order for this to work. Linebreeding increases the percentage of traits found in the original parent stock, for good and for bad. What makes many of the best show herds special, is that they continually improved the stock, by using the very best offspring as the new brood stock. Doing this, they eliminate much of the 'bad' genetics, by selecting for the 'good' traits that meets their goals. Because the gene pool is more limited in linebreeding, the offspring tend to develop a certain 'look'. There is more consistency in the offspring, less surprises. Which is great if you are looking for offspring that are consistently showable and registerable.

On the other hand, you might love surprises. Or, you might be looking for some trait that just isn't your herd. This is where out-crossing comes in. You bring in a new trait you want in your herd, but with it could come a basket-full of recessive traits that may radically change the look of their offspring. You may improve one thing, but hurt other things. That is the upside and downside of out-crossing.

So, do I find a problem with repeats on a pedigree? No, not at all, as long as the rabbit in question 1) meets your requirements for a new rabbit, with the traits you are looking for (personality, color, body confirmation, fur/fiber texture, weight, etc.)
2) doesn't show any traits on the pedigree that you want to avoid in your herd if this rabbit is to be used for breeding (a different breed, weights that are too high/too low, color patterns that can cause problems like disqualification from show such as Vienna BEW, steel, or harlequin, etc.)
 

Mini Lop Mama

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There has always been debate about the merits of out-crossing vs. linebreeding. Out-crossing brings in new genetics for breeding, hoping to enlarge the gene pool. Linebreeding starts with an outstanding individual rabbit, and then intensifies those genetics in the succeeding generations, often by breeding an outstanding buck or doe to one of its offspring; or an uncle to a niece. This instead limits the gene pool, but hopefully limits it to a more and more consistent gene pool of desirable traits. Generally, breeding siblings is not encouraged, so much as going back to an older generation closer to that outstanding rabbit. Once the stock is sufficiently increased, breeding between cousins works, too. Increasing the genetics in the smaller, more focused gene pool, will increase both good and bad traits. The way linebreeding works, is to cull out the bad genetics and keep improving the good stuff by keeping the very best of the offspring in the breeding program.

This is not the same as inbreeding, where you simply mate related rabbits with no plan of improvement, often siblings. Now don't get me wrong, I have sometimes bred siblings in order to keep a special bloodline intact, with good effect. But again, you need to be willing to cull out the rabbits that don't meet your standards in order for this to work. Linebreeding increases the percentage of traits found in the original parent stock, for good and for bad. What makes many of the best show herds special, is that they continually improved the stock, by using the very best offspring as the new brood stock. Doing this, they eliminate much of the 'bad' genetics, by selecting for the 'good' traits that meets their goals. Because the gene pool is more limited in linebreeding, the offspring tend to develop a certain 'look'. There is more consistency in the offspring, less surprises. Which is great if you are looking for offspring that are consistently showable and registerable.

On the other hand, you might love surprises. Or, you might be looking for some trait that just isn't your herd. This is where out-crossing comes in. You bring in a new trait you want in your herd, but with it could come a basket-full of recessive traits that may radically change the look of their offspring. You may improve one thing, but hurt other things. That is the upside and downside of out-crossing.

So, do I find a problem with repeats on a pedigree? No, not at all, as long as the rabbit in question 1) meets your requirements for a new rabbit, with the traits you are looking for (personality, color, body confirmation, fur/fiber texture, weight, etc.)
2) doesn't show any traits on the pedigree that you want to avoid in your herd if this rabbit is to be used for breeding (a different breed, weights that are too high/too low, color patterns that can cause problems like disqualification from show such as Vienna BEW, steel, or harlequin, etc.)
Wow! Thank you so much for this! Great to hear, I really appreciate it!
 
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