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understanding genetics the simple way.
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genetics

Understanding Genetics In Plain Jamaican Terms
You don’t have to be totally switched on with genetics to be able to predict the outcome of a particular pairing of birds. To improve your flock all you need is a basic knowledge and a little insight and once you have read this article a few times you will find it comes to hand pretty quickly!


In genetics there are basically 3 types you need to understand with 2 of them common, to be able to confidently predict pairing outcomes and these types are as follow:

 1) Sex Linked
 2) Recessive
 3) Dominant


 The first gene the Sex Linked variety is very simple to understand without  going into all the formulas of how and why we achieve the results as not to confuse you, I can honestly say I wish I had a dollar for every time I was asked “What will I get If I breed this male with this hen"? By following these simple guide you can now work it out for youself. 

A Sex linked gene is not so complex, it is a gene that represents most of our every day varieties. And in most casee this covers Lutino, Cinnamon, Platinum and pearl. You might say that's what I have! Well you can predict the outcome and in some cases the sex of a srx linked pairing and this is how it applied in simple terms.

Male that are the above sex link varieties when bred to a hen that is not of the same variety will always produce a lutino hens sibling the same variety as dad! For example a Lutino cock will produce a lutino hen sibling! The same result will appear with the other mentioned warieties! Getting there slowly as 1-2-3; if confused read that bit of info slowly again before you move on. Moving on so what if mum is also a lutino then naturally all siblings born will be lutinos!


So now we know that a Sex Linked cock will produce Sex Link hen siblings the same as dads’ variety. What about male siblings born from the same pairing what will they be? They will be Normal for the mutation involved, an eg is the Cockatiel the normal Cockatiel is grey bird! So in the nest from the same pairing where dad is Lutino and mum isn’t we have 4 siblings 2 with Lutino (yellowish tones) and 2 with grey normal tones, this represents 2 hens and 2 cock siblings a great way to sex your clutch which can be very important for those who are wanting to hand rear the young!
So what’s next? You ask simple you have heard the terminology “split-to” this term identifies a hidden gene that is carried but isn’t visible in appearance, for instance the young male siblings from our Cockatiel pairing that were born normal grey are also now genetically “split to Lutino” and we write that as Normal grey/ lutino a forward slash in genetic terms indicates the split factor confused! Have another read.

So your next question is “What about if dad is lutino and mum is cinnamon” what happens then? this is also easy to calculate as the breeding results will still be the same as mentioned where all hens born will be Lutino and all males born will be Grey Normal but instead of males being split to Lutino only the males will also be split to Cinnamon but still appear grey a Multi-split! In genetic terms Grey Normal/Lutino/Cinnamon or abbrev Nml/lut/cinn so now you know what that terminology means. The only other simple important factor to remember is that hens CANNOT BE SPLIT toSex Linked a variety.
Gene No 2; - The Recessive Gene
The Recessive gene is probably the most important gene as with most mutations and their
varieties this gene normally represents a unique feature such as individuality, but has stunning results when combined with a Sex Linked gene. The Recessive varieties in Australian Birds are Countless but for the exercise we will concentrate on Cockatiels which we are most familiar with! (Well I am anyway)


The recessive varieties in Cockatiels are; Pied, Whiteface, Silver, Fallow and Pastelface to some extent. Remembering that the same is true for all recessive varieties in other forms of Aviculture which needs to inherit a gene from both parents to reproduce itself visibly!

So now you ask me “I have a Whiteface male what happens when I put him to Normal Hen”?
In simple terms nothing happens all siblings born will be normal like mum! But why? Because to produce a recessive variety likes a Whiteface Cockatiel both parents need t


o be visually Whiteface or at the least split to Whiteface. Not sure read that bit again over and over until it sinks in!Can a hen be split to a recessive gene? Yes it can so to define a recessive variety both parents need to carry it in their make up or be visually that gene to produce siblings of the same  mutation!

 

 


So what happens to the genetics of the above pairing? Well it would read like this all siblings born will be normal grey but all siblings will be split to the Whiteface gene Normal Grey/Whiteface or in brief Gry/wface! What happens if mum is also a Whiteface? Well simple, all siblings will be Whiteface! Now the term Multi Mutation pops up every now and then so what does this mean? This means that a bird carries more than one gene visibly such as a Whiteface Pied, Two recessive genes from each parent combined to produce a unique bird. What about if we now get the Whiteface Pied and add on Pearling for the exercise we end up with a Whiteface Pearl Pied a genuine simple Multi Mutation variety with absolute stunning features incorporating two recessive genes and one sex linked gene, so as you can see the outcome of multi mutating can become very complex but also very rewarding!


3; Last but not least is the Dominant and Co-Dominant gene. In most cases the wild form of variety is a dominant gene for e.g. in cockatiels the grey normal is recognized as dominant to a recessive variety meaning if you place a grey normal cockatiel to a recessive Whiteface cockatiel the dominant gene will express itself and produce all grey normal offspring.




The latest mutation to hit our shores is the Pastelface gene or properly termed as Par blue which is also a dominant gene! but only dominant to the whiteface gene, therefore in every Pastelface is carried the Whiteface gene but not so vice a versa! These types are sometimes called Single factor varieties, confused not really important unless you are breeding Pastelface and all you need to remember is every Pastelface is split to Whiteface but a Whiteface is not split to Pastelface.



By pairing a Pastelface to a Whiteface the offspring will be 50% Pastelface and 50% Whiteface. Pastelface can also inherit a Double factor variety which is achieved by pairing SF-Pastelface to S-F Pastelface some 25% of this pairings siblings will be Double- factor Pastelface which is usually identified by the lighter tones or by future test breeding. Just to confuse a little more when a D-F Pastelface is paired to Whiteface all siblings born will be S-F Pastelface.



Take your time to read over and over all genetic related articles as it will slowly sink in making breeding programs come to fruition and more enjoyable instead of the guessing game that usually starts with “What do I get if I breed this male with this female”


Please note the above is only a quick guide to genetics which can be very complex but I hope that you can take a little from here and put to practice some formulas that will enhance your flock






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