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Breeding - Base Coat Genetics

Genetics | Base Coats | Breeding for Bases
How Genes Work
Example Geno: ee/Aa/tt/MM/nPb
  • In genetics, letters are used to describe the genes that an animal has.
  • In a tokota geno like the example above, slashes (/) are used to separate different genes.
  • The first 3 genes (E, A, and T) are used to determine the ‘base’ or coat color of the tokota.
  • Any genes listed after the base coat genes show which markings the tokota has. In this example, the tokota has Marked (MM) and Piebald (nPb)

Allele


  • Each individual gene has two halves or ‘copies’, also known as ‘alleles’.
    • For example, for the gene ‘MM’, each ‘M’ is one allele.
    • As another example, for the gene ‘nPb’, one allele is ‘n’ and the other allele is ‘Pb’.
  • How the alleles are arranged determines whether that tokota is able to show that marking, and if that marking is heterozygous or homozygous (also known as a dominant gene).
  • In a geno, a lowercase ‘n’ is used to show a ‘null’ allele. This means that this ‘half’ of the gene will not give the tokota a marking. The tokota can still display that marking if the other allele in the gene is not also a null allele.
  • Examples
    • ‘nn’ - This means that the gene did not pass and does not show.
    • ‘nN’ - This means that the gene passed. The tokota is heterozygous for this marking.
    • ‘NN’ - This means that the gene passed. The tokota is homozygous for this marking.
  • Whether a tokota is heterozygous or homozygous for a given gene, it will always display that gene. The only important difference is that a tokota with a homozygous gene will more easily pass down a marking to its offspring than a tokota with a heterozygous gene.
  • Note: There are no ‘recessive’ genes in tokotas. One allele of a gene is always sufficient for the tokota to display that marking.
Base Coats
  • Tokotas come in 1 of 4 possible base coats: Tundra, Tawny, Brown, and Black.
  • Which coat a tokota has is determined by 3 separate alleles: E, A, and T.
  • A lowercase e, a, or t indicates a null allele for that base coat gene.
If we look at each base coat separately, we can see which genes produce it.

Tundra


Tundra coats are the lightest coats - they range from light, creamy off-whites to a light flaxen color. Depending on modifier genes and parentage, tundra tokotas can also take on other hues, but their coats are always relatively light.
Tundra is controlled by the T allele. A tundra tokota will always have null alleles for the other basecoat genes: ‘ee’ and ‘aa’
  • ee/aa/TT = Homozygous tundra
  • ee/aa/Tt = Heterozygous tundra

Brown


Brown coats normally can range from lighter, tanned browns, to rich, dark mahoganies. With certain modifiers or special lineages, they can take on a variety of hues such as red, pink, or orange tones.
Brown is controlled by the A allele. A brown tokota will always have null alleles for the other basecoat genes: ‘ee’ and ‘tt’
  • ee/AA/tt = Homozygous brown
  • ee/Aa/tt = Heterozygous brown

Black


Black is the darkest base coat. Black is an extremely rare occurrence, due to it’s visibility against the tokota's native tundra environment.
Black is controlled by the E allele. A black tokota will always have null alleles for the other basecoat genes: ‘aa’ and ‘tt’
  • EE/aa/tt = Homozygous black
  • Ee/aa/tt = Heterozygous black

Tawny


Tawny is a light-colored basecoat that is darker than tundra but lighter than brown. It can range from lighter colors such as burnt cream to as dark as a milk chocolate tan. Depending on modifiers and parentage, tawny comes in a wide variety of colors, including bright golds, pinks, oranges, lilacs, and medium greys.
Genetically, tawny is a special case. It is created not by a single gene, but by a combination of A and T alleles. A tawny tokota will always have null alleles for the black basecoat gene (ee), but can have a combination of heterozygous or homozygous tundra and brown alleles.
  • ee/AA/TT = Homozygous tawny
  • ee/AA/Tt = Heterozygous tawny
  • ee/Aa/TT = Heterozygous tawny
  • ee/Aa/Tt = Heterozygous tawny
How to Breed for a Coat Color
If you want to breed for a particular coat color, you need to carefully select a breeding pair that is capable of producing the coat you want. Generally, there are two things you should look for:
  • Do the parents have the base coat alleles you want?
  • Do the parents have any base coat alleles that you do not want? These alleles may ‘get in the way’ and pass down to your puppies instead of the coat you want.
Generally, you should try to select parents that have the base coat alleles you want, while avoiding parents with base coat alleles you don’t want. When in doubt, you can always test a breeding pair on the breeding roller to see what coats they are able to produce.

Breeding for a Tundra coat


Tundra is one of the easiest coats to breed, because the ‘T’ allele passes very easily. If you want to breed a tundra tokota:
  • Select parents that have at least one tundra (‘T’) allele in their genotype.
  • Breeding two tundra tokotas together will guarantee you tundra pups.
  • Brown (‘A’) alleles do not pass as easily as tundra alleles, so it is possible to breed with one parent that has brown alleles, especially if they are heterozygous (Aa) for brown.
  • Avoid parents that are homozygous brown (AA). They are more likely to pass an unwanted ‘A’ allele to their offspring.
  • Black (E) genes do not pass easily. For this reason, breeding a tokota with tundra alleles to a black parent (EE or Ee) gives you a good chance of getting a tundra pup.

Breeding for a Brown coat


Brown is a moderately difficult coat to breed for. If you want to breed a brown tokota:
  • Select parents that have at least one brown (‘A’) allele in their genotype.
  • Breeding two brown tokotas together will guarantee you brown pups.
  • It is possible to breed a brown tokota if one parent is brown and the other is heterozygous (Tt) tundra. The ‘T’ allele passes easily and will likely result in tawny or tundra pups, but brown is possible.
  • Avoid parents that are homozygous tundra (TT) or tawny with homozygous tundra (TT). They will always pass ‘T’ alleles to their offspring, which will result in a tundra or tawny pup.
  • Black (E) alleles do not pass easily. For this reason, breeding a tokota with brown alleles to a black parent (EE or Ee) gives you a good chance of getting a brown pup.

Breeding for a Black coat


Black is the most difficult coat color to produce and is therefore the rarest coat. If you want to breed a black tokota:
  • Select parents that have at least one black (‘E’) allele in their genotype. Your best chance at getting a black pup is by breeding two black parents together.
  • It is possible to get a black pup by breeding 1 black parent to a heterozygous brown (Aa) or heterozygous tundra (Tt) parent, but keep in mind that it is rare to get a black pup from these pairings!
  • Avoid parents that are homozygous tundra (TT) or homozygous brown (AA). It is impossible for them to produce a black pup unless the other parent is homozygous (EE) black, which results in a very rare chance to get a black pup.
  • Do not breed to a Tawny tokota! It is impossible for a tawny parent to produce black pups.

Breeding for a Tawny coat


Because Tawny results from a combination of both Tundra (T) and Brown (A) alleles, tawny is actually one of the easiest coats to produce. It is also the most common coat. To breed a tawny tokota:
  • Select two parents that have tundra (‘T’) and/or brown (‘A’) alleles in their genotype. Both parents do not have to have both types of allele, but you will need at least one of each allele in the pairing.
  • It is possible to breed a Tawny tokota from 1 Brown and 1 Tundra parent. Their alleles can combine in the pup and produce Tawny.
  • Having homozygous brown (AA) and/or homozygous tundra (TT) on either or both of the parents will increase your chances of getting a tawny pup.
  • Breeding a Tawny tokota to a Black tokota (EE or Ee) will guarantee tawny pups.

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