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Genetics is a fascinating subject. With some careful study, as it relates to cavies, it can aid in calculating outcomes of breeding.


A recessive trait, such as the pink-eye gene (p), can be carried in cavies for generations and remain unexpressed (masked), meaning the animal carries a pink-eye gene but does not have pink eyes. Recessive traits are what bring surprises.

The pink-eye gene is recessive and the non pink-eye gene dominant so a cavy must have two pink-eye genes in order for pink eyes to express. As an example, a boar and sow each have non-pink eyes but carry a pink-eye gene (Pp). If an offspring receives the pink-eye gene (p) from each parent, the trait is expressed and results is a pup with pink eyes (pp). A pup from these parents also has the possibility of receiving two other gene cominations:

• (Pp) carries a pink-eye gene but does not have pink eyes
• (PP) carries no pink-eye gene and is unable to produce pink-eyed babies

The following chart represents the possibilities:

Imagine my surprise when a Broken Dilute Agouti (lilac/orange) and White resulted from breeding a TSW and GA/R/WH. On this little sow's pedigree, Dilute colors do not exist until the 3rd generation back on Mom’s side and the 4th generation back on Dad’s side, and Dilute Agouti appears nowhere on either pedigree. Fascinating!

These genetic charts below deal specifically with the American breed, and colors of Intense Broken and Tortoise Shell and White.





There are five loci that determine the breed, each having a set of alleles (genes) that define the cavy's appearance. If both alleles of a locus are the same (example: LL) the cavy is homozygous, also known as purebred. The following chart represents alleles for a homozygous American.

BREED
LOCUS
  Rough Long Star Teddy Satin
 
Allele
AMERICAN rr LL stst TT SnSn

If the alleles of a locus are different (example: Ll) the cavy is heterozygous, also known as hybrid. These cavies carry mixed genes but still display characteristics of the American breed. The following chart represents various possibilities of alleles for a heterozygous American.

BREED
LOCUS
  Rough Long Star Teddy Satin
 
Allele
AMERICAN rr Ll stst Tt Snsn
AMERICAN rr Ll stst Tt SnSn
AMERICAN rr Ll stst TT Snsn


There are five loci that determine the variety, each having a set of alleles defining the cavy's appearance. These are the possible combinations of alleles displaying characteristics of Tortoise Shell & White and the various intense Broken Colors:

COLOR
LOCUS
 
Agouti
Extension
Black
Pink-Eye
White Spotting
 
Allele
TSW aa eP BB or Bb PP or Pp Ss or ss
GA/R/WH AA or Aa eP BB or Bb PP or Pp Ss or ss
R/WH AA or Aa or aa ee BB or Bb or bb PP or Pp Ss or ss
GA/WH AA or Aa EE or Ee BB or Bb PP or Pp Ss or ss
BLK/WH aa EE or Ee BB or Bb PP or Pp Ss or ss

 



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