Looking for color/genetics tutor

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Buknee

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Is anyone willing to tutor me on some color/genetics?
I am only just over a year into raising rabbits. I have a purebred litter, 6 kits,
of Rex that I would like to know the genetic lettering for to add to their pedigree.
I would like to learn from an experienced person so I can learn how to do it correctly.
I really appreciate anyone who would take the time.
Thank you!

Sharon @bellaroserabbitry
 
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One of the things I love about rabbits is coat color genetics! One of the best things about starting with rabbits to learn genetics is that rabbit coat colors are simple enough to be understandable, but just complicated enough to stay interesting. I'd love to help you work out the code. So far, I have not found a limit to my interest in talking about genetics! :)
By the way, one of the best resources I have ever found is ABC - About Bunnies Colors by Ellyn Eddy. I have a long background in genetics but I still love this very basic, but very complete and accurate resource. It's inexpensive and you can order it from numerous places, including BunnyRabbit.com, AllThingsBunnies.com, and Amazon.
 

RabbitsOfTheCreek

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If you put the BEW gene in a punnet square with V and v, VV is no VM marks, Vv is VM marked, and vv is BEW
Basically BEW is recessive
(Sorry if this isn't helpful it's just one of the few things I can understand about rabbit genes)
 

TroubleMakerAcres

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Is anyone willing to tutor me on some color/genetics?
I am only just over a year into raising rabbits. I have a purebred litter, 6 kits,
of Rex that I would like to know the genetic lettering for to add to their pedigree.
I would like to learn from an experienced person so I can learn how to do it correctly.
I really appreciate anyone who would take the time.
Thank you!

Sharon @bellaroserabbitry
You can write me, I love Rex and colour genetics or member Judy Mac, she is the most knowledgeable other member I’ve ‘met’ on this site regarding genetics.


This is a good reference guide once you understand the basics of the genetics and what the letters mean.
 

judymac

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Rabbit genetics is fascinating, isn't it? For rex coats (and blue-eyed white) see the post at Rexed Fur Probability?

For the ABCs of rabbit color genetics, see the post at What colors could this breeding produce?

If you have any more specific questions, let me know. Basically, we use the rabbit's pedigree to help us decide what our rabbit can carry. There are some traits, like steel, blue-eyed white, sable & chinchilla, that can hide in the background for generations, and a pedigree won't necessarily help with.

For the cases where the pedigree helps:
  1. Look for a parent with a recessive trait. Each parent has two copies of a given choice (called an 'allele') for each gene. Black is a dominant trait, a black rabbit will either have two black dominant alleles, or one black and one chocolate (black is dominant over chocolate.) A chocolate rabbit has two recessive chocolate alleles. Because it takes two copies of that trait for it to express itself, no matter which allele that parent donates to its offspring, it'll be the same recessive allele. So if you have a chocolate tort parent, you know that your kit has both a recessive chocolate 'b' from that parent, as well as a recessive non-extension fawn 'e'. You can fill those blanks in. If the kit is visibly non fawn or not chocolate, then you know what the other alleles are as well. Of course, if the kit is fawn (as in tort, orange, red, cream/fawn, etc.) or has chocolate traits (self chocolate, chocolate tort, chocolate pearl, etc.), then you know the kit has double recessive alleles for that trait.
  2. Some traits are easily told, like the 'En' spotting gene. Spotting is dominant, if a rabbit carries the dominant En spotting gene, it will have some degree of spotting. Even if a rabbit has multiple spotted ancestors, if it isn't spotted, you know it is recessive 'en en' non-spotted.
  3. Be wary of Vienna blue-eyed white genetics. The problem isn't the BEW to BEW matings, where you get BEW kits. The problem is with the matings to a non-Vienna rabbit. They will be 'Vv', one Vienna allele, one non-Vienna allele. These kits can either be Vienna marked (anything from a simple white snip on the nose or white toes, to a full-blown Dutch pattern), or have no markings at all. These rabbits are called VC, Vienna carriers. They don't look BEW, there's no sign of them carrying anything detrimental (those white marks disqualify from registration and show). But 1/2 of all their kits will also have the Vienna gene. It can go many generations, with surprise white spots showing up in any generation.
  4. Harlequin, steel, chinchilla and sable can also cause issues, when they are a recessive trait, because these traits are incompletely dominant. Unlike black or chocolate as a simple on-or-off choice, these incompletely dominant traits can work as a recessive in the background, causing non-showable traits. Harlequin in the background can cause steel-like tipping, or harlequin patterning in the agouti markings. Chinchilla can cause off-colored gray-blue eyes. There are five choices (alleles) on the 'C' color gene (full color, chinchilla, sable, Himalayan pointed white and albino), and five on the 'E' extension gene (dominant black, steel, full extension color, harlequin and non-extension fawn). These are all incompletely dominant traits, often the only clue is that the colors are not as deep as desired, such as a pointed white with a recessive albino gene may not have as good of a colored mask as a rabbit with two Himalayan alleles.
  5. When you don't know what allele a rabbit carries, just put a dash or underline in that space. I'm a fan of using the underline, as sometimes seeing what colors that rabbit throws in the next generation will tell you what to fill in, and the underline gives you an easy place to insert the new info. Any time you have a recessive colored kit born, you know both parents carry that trait. For example, I had a chocolate agouti doe bred to what was supposed to be a lynx buck, which is genetically chocolate agouti with the dilute gene. In the litter was an albino red-eyed white and a chestnut agouti. In order to have REW, both parents had to donate an albino 'c' allele, so even though there is not visible evidence they carry REW, I know they are both 'Cc'. The real conundrum is the chestnut, as both parents were supposed to be recessive chocolate based colors, so a black-based chestnut should be impossible. The lynx was really just a smutty, poorly colored fawn. I understand this is a common problem in the breeds that require a white undercolor on their lynx.
  6. Go through the ABCs of genetics, one at a time, to build your rabbit's color code. Does your rabbit have the typical agouti markings: multiple colors on the hairshaft, fawn triangle behind the ears, eye rings, white belly (could be reddish if you have rufus modifiers) and chin? If so, this rabbit is A-, agouti. Does it have agouti markings, but a single color on the hairshaft? Then you have a tan 'a(t)-'. Is it all one solid color (or in the case of a tort a solid color on the points and then some shade of red/orange/fawn/cream on the main body)? If so, you have a self 'a'. Do the same with the other genes, one at a time. You will gradually build a code. Lynx is agouti A- with chocolate bb, full-color C-, dilution dd, and normal extension E-, for example. When you realize that all colors are just combinations of ABCDE, plus a few other special cases like BEW and En spotting, genetics becomes easier.
Dominant agouti 'A', black 'B', full-color 'C', dense color 'D', full extension 'E' is wild rabbit colored chestnut agouti. Chocolate plus agouti with normal full color gives you cinnamon, also called chocolate agouti. If you change full color to chinchilla, you have a chocolate chin instead. If you had changed dense color D to dilute 'dd', you'd have lynx and lilac chin instead. All colors are just a recipe based on ABCDE.

Of course, the kicker is that it really isn't quite as cut and dried as this. There are a variety of modifiers that are poorly understood. Why does one rabbit have dark color to the skin, and others are 'snowballs', with color only on the outer 1/4" of hair? Why does one rabbit have a lot of 'smut', dark markings on a fawn based rabbit, and others none at all? Sometimes the eye colors are off, or the toenails are not the correct color. Sometimes those incompletely dominant recessives are working in the background changing colors from the ABCDE standard. So, don't be surprised if you have questions, or occasional rabbits that just don't seem to fit into the mold. It happens to all of us. If you register/show, just be sure to keep those rabbits that best conform to the ARBA Standard of Perfection of your breed as your next generations of breeders, eliminating those that throw off-colors.
 

Buknee

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Oh goodness! My head is spinning. I am reading through all the posts and really appreciate each one. I am ordering the ABC book tomorrow. I think if I have some charts in front of me, it might help my focus and understanding.
Does the ABC book include helps for color? If not, where can I find something that simplifies colors? The Wild River Rabbitry page is nice, but I would like hard copies.

I can now at least pronounce allele and I know what it means. LOL
 
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Oh goodness! My head is spinning. I am reading through all the posts and really appreciate each one. I am ordering the ABC book tomorrow. I think if I have some charts in front of me, it might help my focus and understanding.
Does the ABC book include helps for color? If not, where can I find something that simplifies colors? The Wild River Rabbitry page is nice, but I would like hard copies.

I can now at least pronounce allele and I know what it means. LOL
Yes, the ABC book has lots of charts and color photos. They'll definitely get you going on what colors look like, especially in relation to each other.

I'm with you on the preference for hard copies!!! I have several other good books on rabbit genetics, but none have color photos, and none are as basic and straightforward (or affordable!), especially, but not only, for a beginner, as ABC.

Eddy gives you a quick primer on basic Mendelian inheritance, and shows you how to use a Punnett Square (it's simple!). Then she takes you through the five main loci (A,B,C,D,E) a step at a time. She also describes some additional important genes like the ones for wideband, dutch and silver, and includes a discussion of modifiers.

You're gonna love this. :)
 

Buknee

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Yes, the ABC book has lots of charts and color photos. They'll definitely get you going on what colors look like, especially in relation to each other.

I'm with you on the preference for hard copies!!! I have several other good books on rabbit genetics, but none have color photos, and none are as basic and straightforward (or affordable!), especially, but not only, for a beginner, as ABC.

Eddy gives you a quick primer on basic Mendelian inheritance, and shows you how to use a Punnett Square (it's simple!). Then she takes you through the five main loci (A,B,C,D,E) a step at a time. She also describes some additional important genes like the ones for wideband, dutch and silver, and includes a discussion of modifiers.

You're gonna love this. :)
Thank you. I need basic.
Hopefully my daughter in law and I can utilize some cold winter days and figure it out.

So when writing out the genetics on a pedigree, do some of the letters come from the rabbits color and some from the parents pedigree?

We started out with just mixed breeds. But I love my rabbits and want to work towards all pedigreed. Well mostly. I have a few does that throw amazing kits with quick grow-out weight. I will keep them around for our own consumption.

Thanks again!
 
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So when writing out the genetics on a pedigree, do some of the letters come from the rabbits color and some from the parents pedigree?
It depends on the rabbit's color and the colors of its parents. Some of the code will come from looking at the rabbit itself, but if either or both of the parents are recessives (like dilute or REW) that gives you information you can include on the pedigree as well.
 

MuddyFarms

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For your current litter, it’s pretty simple to put the genotypes together. Since neither parent is dilute, the genotypes will mostly be based on whatever color the kit is. Then, as they are bred and produce colors, you can start filling in the rest of the genotype.

A few parts (like non-extension genes) might need to be determined based on the pairing/parents.

That site I posted the link to shows what each color has for a genotype in each chart. That’s the basics, and then certain things are added depending on what specifics the parents had.
 
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Buknee

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For your current litter, it’s pretty simple to put the genotypes together. Since neither parent is dilute, the genotypes will mostly be based on whatever color the kit is. Then, as they are bred and produce colors, you can start filling in the rest of the genotype.

A few parts (like non-extension genes) might need to be determined based on the pairing/parents.

That site I posted the link to shows what each color has for a genotype in each chart. That’s the basics, and then certain things are added depending on what specifics the parents had.
I have been using that page. Thank you. It is helpful, but there is so much I need to learn first. I have found some basic pages that I am reading through. Very helpful. I can see this is going to be a long learning session for me. I have never done anything with genetics so it is all foreign.

Right now I am working on learning my AaBbCcDdEe and what they all represent. I have an (at) kit, so that helps me remember it.

Things that don't make sense to me, if B is black and b is brown, why is a castor A-B-C-D-E- ? To me, a castor is brown. Lots to figure out.
Would my b/o tri be: AABbC-Ddeje ?
 

MuddyFarms

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I have been using that page. Thank you. It is helpful, but there is so much I need to learn first. I have found some basic pages that I am reading through. Very helpful. I can see this is going to be a long learning session for me. I have never done anything with genetics so it is all foreign.

Right now I am working on learning my AaBbCcDdEe and what they all represent. I have an (at) kit, so that helps me remember it.

Things that don't make sense to me, if B is black and b is brown, why is a castor A-B-C-D-E- ? To me, a castor is brown. Lots to figure out.
Would my b/o tri be: AABbC-Ddeje ?

I have a hand drawn chart that may help with understanding that. I’ll get that tomorrow for you. 🙂

It should be A_, because the parents carry self and might have given that to it, but you won’t know till you do test-breeding.

A_B_C_D_eje

Basically, as you test-breed, you’ll learn which of the parents hidden genes (the ones they ‘carry’) were passed down.

When you have a breeding with one parent being dilute, you automatically know more of the kits’ genetics than this.
 

MuddyFarms

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Anyone feel free to add input and corrections if you find need to do so!

Okay. This chart shows four colors on the left and what the color name is in each pattern. Basically, a black agouti is a castor, a blue agouti is an opal, a chocolate agouti is an amber, and a lilac agouti is a lynx. The other patterns don’t change the color name like that, so a black otter is just that: black otter. A black self is a black self. Self and otter rabbits lack any color banding on the fur shafts (agouti is the wild rabbit colorations).

In the agoutis, you are actually looking at the tipping on the ends of the fur to determine color. Castors may seem pretty red or brown, but when you look at the overall tipping color, it’s black tipping. Opals have blue tipping, ambers have pretty chocolate tipping, etc.

Knowing these things can make the genotypes more understandable, as well.

One other thing- black and chocolate are the two main colors there. Blue is the diluted version of black, and lilac is the diluted version of chocolate.
 

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Things that don't make sense to me, if B is black and b is brown, why is a castor A-B-C-D-E- ? To me, a castor is brown. Lots to figure out.
Would my b/o tri be: AABbC-Ddeje ?
Black and brown (chocolate) refer to pigment, not necessarily the overall color of the rabbit. That's why colors are often referred to as "black-based" or "chocolate-based." (They're sometimes called "blue-based"or "lilac-based" as well, but those colors are just dilutions of the first two, so technically you could still refer to a lilac-based animal as chocolate-based.)

As MuddyFarms noted, an agouti is categorized by the tipping color rather than its overall appearance. If you eliminate the ring color - as happens when a rabbit gets tan genes <atat> or <ata>, or two self genes <aa> - the rings are suppressed and you see only the base color. So when the <A> of an agouti is replaced with <at> or <a>, a black-based agouti (chestnut/castor/copper) becomes a black otter or black, and a chocolate agouti (amber) becomes a chocolate otter or chocolate.

A_B_C_D_E_ = Castor
at_B_C_D_E_= Black Otter
aaB_C_D_E_ = Black

A_bbC_D_E_ = Amber
at_bbC_D_E_ = Chocolate Otter
aabbC_D_E_ = Chocolate

Regarding a black otter tri, he would have an <at> for otter (tan), a <B_> for black (but not necessarily a <b> for chocolate unless one of his parents was a chocolate), and both a japanese and a broken gene, so:

Black Otter tri: <at_B_C_D_ej_W_Enen>

Note the <En> gene for broken is at a different locus than the <ej> for japanese. I added a<W_> (which means non-wideband) as a separator between the two.

Since <at> <B> <C> <D> and <ej> are all dominant to other genes at their loci, you put a dash behind them unless you know there's a recessive as well, by knowing the parents were that particular recessive. For instance, if one of the parents was chocolate-based, you could write: <at_BbC_D_ej_W_Enen>
 
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Okay. This chart shows four colors on the left and what the color name is in each pattern. Basically, a black agouti is a castor, a blue agouti is an opal, a chocolate agouti is an amber, and a lilac agouti is a lynx. The other patterns don’t change the color name like that, so a black otter is just that: black otter. A black self is a black self. Self and otter rabbits lack any color banding on the fur shafts (agouti is the wild rabbit colorations).
To add a little to the confusion... or perhaps clear it up... :) ...the otter variety, produced by the tan gene <at>, is known as "tan" or "tan pattern" in several breeds (Belgian Hare, Holland Lop, Jersey Wooly, Netherland Dwarf). It's yet another variety name which does not really describe the color of the entire rabbit. (Not that otter really does, either...)

There is also the Tan breed, which of course is tan patterned (aka otter), and can be black-, blue-, chocolate- or lilac-based:
1669798466041.png
Black Tan photo from the ARBA website.
 

Buknee

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Anyone feel free to add input and corrections if you find need to do so!

Okay. This chart shows four colors on the left and what the color name is in each pattern. Basically, a black agouti is a castor, a blue agouti is an opal, a chocolate agouti is an amber, and a lilac agouti is a lynx. The other patterns don’t change the color name like that, so a black otter is just that: black otter. A black self is a black self. Self and otter rabbits lack any color banding on the fur shafts (agouti is the wild rabbit colorations).

In the agoutis, you are actually looking at the tipping on the ends of the fur to determine color. Castors may seem pretty red or brown, but when you look at the overall tipping color, it’s black tipping. Opals have blue tipping, ambers have pretty chocolate tipping, etc.

Knowing these things can make the genotypes more understandable, as well.

One other thing- black and chocolate are the two main colors there. Blue is the diluted version of black, and lilac is the diluted version of chocolate.
Thanks a bunch. I have been doing a lot of studying. It is actually starting to make sense. I think with a lot of practice it will start to come pretty easy.
The genotype is the same all across the board no matter what the breed is, correct?
Chinchilla would be A-B-c(chd)-D-E- no matter the breed.
 

Buknee

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To add a little to the confusion... or perhaps clear it up... :) ...the otter variety, produced by the tan gene <at>, is known as "tan" or "tan pattern" in several breeds (Belgian Hare, Holland Lop, Jersey Wooly, Netherland Dwarf). It's yet another variety name which does not really describe the color of the entire rabbit. (Not that otter really does, either...)

There is also the Tan breed, which of course is tan patterned (aka otter), and can be black-, blue-, chocolate- or lilac-based:
View attachment 32789
Black Tan photo from the ARBA website.
Thanks.
I went to a show to observe a few weeks ago. I saw a Tan. So thankfully that visual is already crammed into my brain overload. LOL
 
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Thanks a bunch. I have been doing a lot of studying. It is actually starting to make sense. I think with a lot of practice it will start to come pretty easy.
The genotype is the same all across the board no matter what the breed is, correct?
Chinchilla would be A-B-c(chd)-D-E- no matter the breed.
Yes, the genotypes are the same for all breeds of domestic rabbit.
It's just the variety names that are different, e.g. <A-B-c(chd)-D-E-> is a "Chinchilla" in Rex but a "Light Gray" in Flemish Giants.
The ABC book has a chart for those variety translations as well.
 

Buknee

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Yes, the genotypes are the same for all breeds of domestic rabbit.
It's just the variety names that are different, e.g. <A-B-c(chd)-D-E-> is a "Chinchilla" in Rex but a "Light Gray" in Flemish Giants.
The ABC book has a chart for those variety translations as well.
Thank you. The book will be here tomorrow.
I thought it was the same across the breeds, but wanted to make sure. Grateful for that!

I have a Chinchilla and a Light Gray. Plus a Light Gray buck coming on the 16th for Pearl's mate and some color correct Flemish.

Meet Pearl. She is just over 5 months old. Super sweet!
 

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