Goat eye color genetics question!

Chicken Fruit

Songster
10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
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Echo Homestead
We're starting into our own line of Miniature Alpines- starting with three Alpine doelings. I am obviously in the market for a buck and have been looking into possibly buying my own. There's not many in the area that will cover outside does, and I dont want to do AI. I want something that will not only add to the genetics of our offspring but something that will hold added value in the buck above and beyond what other bucks for sale might have. Since eventually he'll have to earn his keep off farm, or be sold, or maybe even whethered.

Which lead me to blue eyed Nigerian Dwarf bucklings.

All I can find about blue eyed goats says theyre ND- but if you're breeding into another breed of goats can the genetics for blue eyes show up there as a result?

This is a pretty remedial question, but genetics are something I havent REALLY sat down to understand yet, and I dont know if there's something that would stop that trait for carrying over into a non-dwarf goat. Could my miniature alpines have blue eyes if their poppa is a blue eyed ND?
 

cassie

Crowing
11 Years
Mar 19, 2009
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I bred dairy goats for over 40 years, but this is the first time I have come across a question on the genetics of eye color. If the blue factor is found primarily in ND's, my guess is that it is a recessive and probably not show up in a cross, at least in the first generation.
 

Chicken Fruit

Songster
10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
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I did ask on the backyardherds forum and some people were saying they actually have miniature goats (as a result of breeding down with ND bucks) and the blue eyes did show up in the miniatured animals.

THATS good news! I wonder if it stays the same odds across the breed lines though. I know its 50/50 in the ND if the buck is blue eyed and the doe is brown. questions questions.
 

CityChicker

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10 Years
Mar 21, 2009
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I haven't raised goats in a number of years, but I would imagine that it is a recessive trait (upon further research, I found that blue eyed is dominant, the ratios of a dominant to recessive trait remain the same though so I will leave the rest of the information here, just switch brown and blue around) based on the fact that I have seldom seen it. If it is a straight forward recessive trait to a dominant trait, the allelic frequency this results in is generally the same regardless of what we are taking about (whether it be plants, animals, birds etc...). The first generation (F1) cross would result in animals that carry the blue eye gene (presuming that both parents are homozygous for their respective eye color). If you breed these animals together, the second generation (F2) would result in a 1:2:1 ratio (the standard pretty much across all species if we are talking about a dominant to a recessive trait). 25% would be blue-eyed, 25% would be homozygous for dark-eyed (and therefore have dark eyes) and 50% would be dark eyed, but again carrying the blue-eyed trait. Then when you breed blue to blue, you should get all blue. Of course, this relies on an assumption on my part that blue-eyed would be recessive. If you get the trait 50% of the time in ND, it could simply mean that a lot of ND are heterozygous for blue-eyed ("split" or "carriers" of blue-eyed).

Editing to add- It is really hard to discuss the basics of genetics without going into more detail than it is feasible to type in a discussion board, LOL. I am going to try to someday come up with an analogy to explain things better. In the meantime, I would highly suggest searching online for a basic genetics primer, especially how to do Punnett squares. It will make things so much easier to understand.
 
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CityChicker

Songster
10 Years
Mar 21, 2009
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I just googled this question out of curiosity and found several sites that explain the genetics of the blue-eyed color in goats. Here is one that is simple to understand, http://members.cox.net/foxcroft/genetics.htm

If you want to breed for this trait, I would learn the basics of genetics. It is really not that hard and this information was easy to find. I just briefly read this one site, but they explain that blue-eyes are dominant, so basically just the opposite of how I explained it (the ratios are the same though). There should be no reason why it couldn't be bred into other breeds. There you have it! LOL
 

Chicken Fruit

Songster
10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
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I've seen the foxfire farm site before- but again it was just information on nigerian dwarf goats- I wasnt sure, since they specified only that particular breed- if the trait is different between the breeds. Iam going to bet its not.
 

protodon

Songster
10 Years
Mar 3, 2009
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Blue eyes are a dominant trait in Nigerian Dwarf goats. Nigerian Goats are the only true breed of goat, in the US anyway, that naturally has blue eyes. If you cross to Alpines the kids can also have blue eyes any ND x full-size goat kids can have blue eyes.

You should keep in mind that since it is a dominant trait, there is a 50% chance you will get brown eyed kids because Alpines only have brown eyes and the ND buck in question could have a brown eye gene along with the dominant blue eye gene. If he is homozygous for blue eyes, then all is kids should have blue eyes but it's really hard to figure that out unless the breeders kept track of such a thing with most people don't.
 

Haviris

Songster
12 Years
Sep 4, 2007
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I haven't read all, but blue eyes are dominant in goats, and when crossed w/ other breeds they can also have blue eyes. My alpine doe had a blue eyed buckling when bred to my (apparently) homozygous blue eyed nigerian, he was adorable, and looked like a true mini alpine other then the eyes. HOWEVER, mini alpines are supposed to look just like their larger counter parts, so blue eyes are not within the breed standard.
 
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