Originally Posted by MinnesotaNice
Do white silkies typically yellow in the sun or from eating yellow corn? What determines the silver gene? What is gold based? Tell me everything. Lol
I have a lot saved on genetics, but I am going to copy and past excerpts that explain it very well in laymans terms....
First thing to remember, there are ONLY two pigments that make up color, Black (E-group) and Red (s and AR). White is the absence of pigment.
There are only five base colors in the black (the E group.) In order of dominance – E(black) = full extension of black, masks most patterning genes that may be present, ER (Birchen) = black with restriction i.e. allows patterning to show up including silver/gold leakage in hackle and saddle, fine lacing present in breast feathers, usually dark legs; eWh (Wheaten) = same as Duckwing (e) except no black lines in rooster hackle or saddle feathers and lighter down, secondary wing feathers remain black, females very different from (e) & (eb) with salmon of breast extending over all or most of body, chick down white or cream; Duckwing aka partridge or wild type (e) = salmon color breast on hens, black lines in hackle and saddle feathers of roosters; and last, Brown (eb) is same in appearance as (e) and (eWh) but will always have black shaft in hackle feathers, hens do not have the salmon breast of the wild type (e).
Red comes in a sex linked trait as gold (s) versus silver (S). Red also appears apart from silver/gold as autosomal red (Ar) which is dominant and not sex linked.
White comes in two masks – albino or “recessive” white masks the expression of ALL other colors and patterns which sometimes causes confusion because it acts dominant in this respect; however it is recessive because it only can express in a double dose (c/c). The “dominant” white (I) masks only the expression of black which is how you get white lacing instead of black or why you might want to breed to a black bird. You also only need one dose, hence the name dominant white. Have you ever tried to paint a room in a lighter color than is already on the wall? If you don't prime it first, you will get leakage of color, usually in uneven patches. The dominant white gene (I) works like paint without primer over the rest of the color genes in the chicken. Black is covered completely, but red will leak if it is present. In this case, the chicken could have autosomal red, or one of the black "bases" like e+ that gives hens a salmon breast in addition to the 'I'. Because it is dominant, you only need one copy of the gene for it to express so it could come from either parent. With the recessive white, think of it as primer (a recessive 'c') plus the coat of paint (another recessive 'c') which provides complete coverage (masking) of any other color genes, black or red, that may be present. You get a pure white bird. This color needs the recessive gene from each parent i.e. two copies to express. Indeed it's kind of as painting a wall, but first you must look what kind of wall it is !
Also at the locus for dominant white is the dun modifier (ID) which acts the same way as blue. When homozygous (ID/ID) it is khaki/dun, when heterozygous it is a chocolate color (ID/id) which is different than a true chocolate (choc), a homozygous recessive. Everything else is ‘not dun’ i.e. (id/id).
The rest of the alphabet soup affects the distribution of the two pigments (black and red) and sometimes the lack of all pigment (white), to various parts of the bird and the individual feathers. Some affect only black pigment like chocolate (choc), Melanotic (Ml) while others affect only red pigment like Mahogany (Mh) and dark brown (Db). Others yet affect all color pigments like Perlgray/Lavender (lav) which dilutes both pigments; the black to pale gray and red to straw gold or the sex linked barring (B) which turns expression of a pigment off and on over the length of a feather.