• The Genetics of Gray Alpacas

    With all the discussion about gray alpacas taking place online on the various alpaca chat forums, I thought it would be worthwhile to reiterate my current understanding of the different kinds of grays and how their phenotypes are passed on. I would suggest that there are at least four kinds of alpacas that are called grays. more »
  • Punnet Squares: Two Genes

    Every sperm or egg has only one copy of each gene So each sperm from the male could have either the G or the S allele from the whitespot gene and it can have either B or B from the color gene. more »
  • Genetics for Alpaca Breeders

    Humans and alpacas share many things in common, along with the rest of the animal kingdom, including how they pass their genes on to the next generation. Humans have over 20,000 genes spread across 23 pairs of chromosome and some 3 billion base pairs of DNA. Alpacas likely have between 15,000 and 20,000 genes (just a guess at this point) spread across 37 pairs of chromosomes and unknown billions of base pairs of DNA. The first complete alpaca genome was sequenced in 2008, so many of these statistics will shortly become known. more »
  • Do Differences in Maternal Immunoglobulin G Influence Passive Transfer and Subsequent Cria Growth in Alpacas?

    Undetected failure of passive transfer (FPT) of immunoglobulin is a major determinant of mortality in newborn alpaca cria, and early detection with proactive management can reduce mortality rates in cases of suspect FPT. The goal of this prospective observational study was to evaluate maternal serum IgG levels as a predictor for subsequent cria FPT (IgG 2000 mg/dl (n = 13). Analysis of variance within maternal groups revealed significant differences in cria birth IgG levels, whereby the highest levels were observed when dam IgG measured 1000-1499 mg/dl, followed by 1500-2000 mg/dl and cria had the lowest birth IgG levels from dams exhibiting IgG levels > 2000 mg/dl (640 mg/dl, 554 mg/dl and 545 mg/dl respectively). Although there were cria with birth IgG more »
  • The Quality and Processing Performance of Alpaca Fibres

    Australia has great potential for a viable alpaca fibre industry. The Australian Alpaca Association (AAA) was founded in 1989 to provide co-ordination for a growing national herd of high quality alpacas in Australia and to enable a viable and sustainable animal and fibre industry. The Alpaca Co-operative P/L (Alpaca Co-op) was established in 1995 to market products derived from alpaca fibres. Both organisations promote alpaca fibres and products in Australia as well as overseas. Australia has sound pastures and modern technologies for breeding the best stocks and currently has the largest alpaca herd outside South America. There is also an increasing interest in luxury fibres among fashion houses. The alpaca fibre industry in Australia is still very young and relatively small compared to the wool industry, and there has been strong desire to process alpaca fibres in Australia on the established wool processing systems. Knowledge on luxury fibre processing is often kept secret by international processors who have the know-how. Local industry needs to understand the properties of Australian grown alpaca fibres and their processing performance, so that the industry can market the fibre effectively and export high quality alpaca fibre products. more »