- This post explains the maths behind the formula 3n × 2m (the number of unique zygotes) mentioned in last week’s post.
- Mating two superior animals together does improve your chance of producing superior offspring, but because of the completely random nature of gene assortment there is no way to predict which particular combination of genes will end up in which gamete. There is no way to control which egg is fertilised by which sperm, and ultimately chance and even luck still factor in the genome you are dealt. Some gamete combinations may be so detrimental that the embryo dies very early on. Two animals who together produced a superb animal may never do so again, but at the same time a disappointing mating outcome doesn’t mean future ones will be. So yes, there absolutely is a lot of randomness in genetic inheritance — far, far more than you may have thought. It is important to be aware of this randomness, and how, because of it, you do not have as much control over your breeding as you may think. But this is a blog about better breeding, and just knowing what you can’t control is a big step on the way to being a better breeder. We will be going deeper and deeper in our understanding, covering genes, statistics and selection strategies along the way.
- An experimental trial of the segregation of white vs. pigmented and black vs. brown colours in alpacas was conducted at the Peruvian INIA Quimsachata Experimental Station. One hundred and forty five offspring were born from the following matings: 4 white sires × 36 white dams, 4 white sires × 39 pigmented dams, and 9 pigmented sires × 70 pigmented dams. Among these last matings were, 4 black sires × 25 black dams, 2 black sires × 20 brown dams, and 3 brown sires × 25 brown dams. Statistical tests validate that the inheritance of white is due to a single gene which is dominant over pigmentation, without any modifying effect and independent of segregation of black and brown patterns. However, the evidence does not support a simple dominant inheritance of the black vs. brown.
- The inheritance of the two types of fleece, Suri and Huacaya, observed in Alpaca (Lama pacos L.) is still not clearly defined. The objective of this work is to investigate the patter of inheritance of these two phenotypes, throughout 588 Suri x Suri and 2126 Huacaya x Huacaya offspring. The single gene and the three two-phenotype epistatic models were tested in the 19 Suri x Suri segregating families. The single dominant gene hypothesis best fitted our segregation data and could be, therefore, accepted (Gt=20.276, P=0.378). The gene frequency of the recessive Huacaya allele was 0.295, being the frequency of the dominant Suri allele 0.705. The frequency of heterozygotes, estimated in the whole population and among dominant individuals, was 0.416 and 0.455, respectively, with a “carrier” Suri to Huacaya ratio of 4.780. In three Huacaya families, 3 Suri were born, as a result of a new dominant mutation on some germinal lines of Huacaya animals. The direct mutation rate can be estimated at 0.0014.
- Phenotypic and genetic parameters for young Australian Alpacas are presented and compared with Alpaca reports in the literature, as well as with estimates for South Australian (SA) Merino sheep. The traits studied were greasy and clean fleece weight (GFW and CFW), fibre yield (YLD), mean fibre diameter (FD), coefficient of variation of FD (CVFD), staple length (SL) and live weight (LW). Most mean values fell within those found in the literature, except for YLD, which was greater in our study. YLD, FD, SL and LW were greater than for Merino sheep, whereas the opposite was true for GFW and CFW. The heritability was high (0.37 or greater) for all traits. The estimate for LW fell within the range in the literature, whereas for GFW and SL our values were greater. Relative to those for SA Merino sheep our estimates were greater for GFW, CFW, CVFD and LW, whereas they were lower for the remaining traits, except for SL, which had the same value. Phenotypic correlations from the literature were in broad agreement with ours. Those from SA Merino hoggets, except for some correlations involving YLD and SL, were in remarkable agreement with ours. The practical implications of the findings are discussed.