Genetics question

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Katy, Apr 20, 2008.

  1. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I love the color and body shape of speckledhen's Meg. Who I believe is from a RIR roo and Buff Orp hen. Does a roo always determine color and the hen body type...or is it just a cr** shoot how the offspring turn out looking?
  2. coopist

    coopist Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    Midwest U.S.
    Hi Katy,

    Poultry genetics is pretty complicated, actually, and so there's no easy way to answer your question, but I'll take a stab at it. Genes that determine color and body type vary a lot, but generally speaking, body type is governed by many, many genes, whereas color can be determined by comparatively few. In the case of colors that are sex-linked, like gold or silver, the roo may have more influence over the color of the offspring, because he will provide a gene for these colors to both male and female offspring, whereas the hen will provide a color gene only to her male offspring (the opposite of the way sex-linkage works in humans). This principle is in play with sex-link crosses. Some genes for color are not related to gender, however, and so the hen will have as much influence as the rooster in those cases. Sometimes, the rooster will provide the basic color, say gold, and the hen will provide a modifying factor, say, dilute. There used to be some pretty decent poultry genetics primers for newbies out there on the web, but I see that the links are down [​IMG] So, here's a link to one for breeding professionals, and I'm really sorry that it's not really a good resource for beginners, but still has some great information if you're not easily intimidated by scientific jargon and symbols. There's also a handy calculator you can use for different combinations, once you've learned some of the codes:
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2008

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