How Have You Learned About Genetics?

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Happy Chicken Mama, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Happy Chicken Mama

    Happy Chicken Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2007
    To all of you Genetifiles out there... How did you learn about chicken genetics?

    Was there a favorite book? Class? From someone else? School?

    I want to learn about some basics. How to gently manipulate colors and strengthening breeds.

    My lingo is non existent... and I really want to understand!

    I am interested specifically in the lavender gene and the one that makes chickens all black (skin bones and all!)

    Any nudge in the right direction would be appreciated.

    I am also curious how each of you got interested/curious about chicken genetics.

    Thanks a lot ya'll!

    Happy Chicken Mama
  2. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Ha! Ha!
    I know dog genetics, I know horse genetics and I even know Guinea pigs genetics but let me tell you, chicken genetics are harder than all 3 of those put together. IMHO
    I looked into it a few times, got totally confused and figured I better stick to what I do know. I'm not saying it can't be learned but at my age it will take a while lot longer than what I have learned in the past. I kept waiting for those long cold winter days to sit down and study it. I'm still waiting![​IMG]
    When I need it, I will study it.[​IMG]
    Good luck to you, it can be so fun learning the formulas![​IMG]
  3. Vcomb

    Vcomb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2008
    South Dakota
    My Coop
    I learned first by learning the basics. Most prinicples of genetics work in multiple species - dominant vs. recessive, splits, patterns, alleles, etc. learning the lingo helps too. Then I was fortunate enough to be part of a now long gone forum online with several exceptionally knowledgeable geneticists and spent a long time reading and re-reading. once I learned how to do Punnet's squares I thought up crosses to test out on paper so that I could practice learning how tofigure out phenotypes and genotypes. a book that had excellent diagrams (almost roadmap or schematic like) on what to ad to what to get what was instrumental as well. that book was "Old English Game Bantams as Bred and Shown in the United States" by Jeffrey and Richardson. Finally, nothing teaches like hands-on experience. I started with the blue gene and working in silkies and eventually worked up to more complex colors in other breeds.
  4. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    I have had several classes in genetics and breeding but none in chickens...I now know why...they can get confussing! So many genes and they interact so many ways it seems like because some are dominate some are masking some are...but looks like you have some good advice so far...not that I have anything great to add but learn the vocab for it and find a mentor on this one
  5. flyingmonkeypoop

    flyingmonkeypoop Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 30, 2007
    Deer Park Washington
    I just learn as I go. Most of the time I think of something so I look up some info on the breeds and then figure it out from there. I get most of my info from reading articles. There is a forum on and when others post questions I learn from that. I dont know any of the genetics symbols but I know what to expect from certain crosses. Then talking to breeders that know their stuff always helps too.
  6. Happy Chicken Mama

    Happy Chicken Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2007
    Wow what great links and advice! Thanks for responding. I guess I have a lot of learning to do. Sounds scarry like math. Thanks for starting me on my way... anyone else??

    The links are really great. I think I have a lot of lingo learning to do before I understand terms but I think it is great how you can enter what you have and then out pops what the expected result will be. I have book-marked the sites. Thanks!

    Are there any good reference books?

    It's also nice to get to know you all! We all have something to offer.


    Keep 'em comming!
  7. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2009
    Northern California
    Genetics of the Fowl by F B Hutt. Really great book. There's a website somewhere that has a lot good info too, but it's kinda written in "techno talk," so brush up on genetics first. Make sure you understand DNA and cell biology a little bit, it really helps.
  8. Henk69

    Henk69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 29, 2008
    Groesbeek Netherlands
    Quote:You make me curious. If you are referring to my website:
    Have you ever talked to real nerds like object oriented programmers (my colleagues [​IMG])?
    I guess the techno terms are a means of keeping things concrete.
    You can cheat by looking to the solutions in the back of your math book but if it comes to understanding how it works you have to handle it differently.

    Still I think you don't need to know about chromosomes, genes and alleles.
    What matters is that an animal gets one copy of each trait from each parent and those copies don't really mix. In the next generations half of these copies are passed on without being tainted. So they can mix and unmix.
    Each trait, once there is a choice, has a few versions of copies spread around. One version gives this and another gives that effect. Combined one version can cover the other or their effects can be intermediate.
    Also some traits suppress other traits like for example: a trait for "tail-less" suppresses the effect of "tail-point-color". Stupid example I know... [​IMG]

    I am avoiding techno terms here, but if I go to a different forum and start using the substitute words there, people will really get confused!

    package from one parent = chromosome
    unmixing = segregation
    trait = gene effect
    version = allele
    combinations of versions = genotype
    one version covers other version = dominance (reverse: recessive)
    one trait covers other trait = epistatic (reverse: hypostatic)
    total effect of coverings = phenotype

    The comfortable thing is that genetics is quite stable, there are just a few techno words of interest.
    In object oriented programming they seem to enjoy making new ones every month.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2009
  9. mountaintopchicken

    mountaintopchicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2007
    One way to learn genetics is to read and try to understand Henk69's web postings [​IMG].

    I'm serious, though, I love when Henk69 posts and I know I'll always learn something by reading them.

    I've been trying to learn chicken genetics too, Happy Chicken Mama. I've been reading websites, buying books, and reading forum genetics postings.

    I have a little notebook that I keep to write things down that I want to remember or try to understand better.

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