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Genetics Part 1 GENETICS PART 2
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For all of you who still remember your first genetics class the name Gregor Mendel is sure to ring a bell. If it wasn't for this monk and his pea plants who knows how long it would have been before the theories of trait expression would have been discussed and explored. Below, there is a series of punnett squares to help us visualize the genetic traits that are both Dominant and recessive. It is important to understand that all characteristics are represented by two alleles one is inherited from the female and the other from the male.
We will first start with the trait of albinism, which is a simple recessive trait, meaning that in order for an animal to be albino both alleles must be that of the recessive trait.
A normal animal will be represented as AA because because both alleles are of the dominant trait and the albino animal will be represented as aa.
Okay, wait just a minute, how do you get three 66% chance of being heterozygous for albino? That's a good question and the answer is because there is no visible distinction between the normal (AA) offspring and the heterozygous (Aa) offspring we must rely on the information gained from the punnett square above. Therefore we have three offspring that all look the same but we know that in theory two of the three should be het (heterozygous) for albino and 2/3 is 66%. It is important to note that while on paper the ratios come out nice and even, in nature there is no guarantee that the alleles will have lined up as we would have desired or as we have shown on paper. Every time a sperm and egg come together the pairing of the alleles is random but thanks to research we are able to predict what the outcome should be.
Now let's say that because of cost you got into the project by buying a pair of hets like those depicted above and through that pairing you produced your first albino animal. It just so happened to be a male, now what? Most breeders would take that male and breed him back to the female that produced him as well as all of his female siblings. Pairing him back to his mother will double the probability of producing albinos in the next breeding cycle, as shown by the punnett square below.
This brief genetics lesson only covers the inheritance of a single recessive trait. We will shortly be adding more information that will cover the expression of multiple traits i.e. pattern and color as well as co-dominant characteristics.
* It is important to note that this information isn't just for the breeding of leopard geckos, this holds true for the genetics of all dominant/recessive traits.
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