Ok, Let's talk basic chicken genetics - What I know lesson#1

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by mibirder, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. mibirder

    mibirder Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    By far, I am not an expert. But I am a biologist, been a teacher, raise chcikens, and am learning about chcikcen color genetics. This seems like a good place to talk about what I've learn and maybe help others along the way (the teacher in me). Much of these ideas come from the "Genetics of Chicken Color" book and other resources I've been using to leanr about chicken color genetics.

    Chicken genetics looks much more difficult in the end than it really is. So hopefully, I can solidify what I know by presenting it to others. Breaking it down into smaller bits and pieces has helped me begin to grasp what I see when I walk out to the run and look at my birds. This will be about color, not type. Type is important but that becomes a whole other topic for discussion.

    Basic Genetics

    What you see in your birds is called phenotype or appearance. It is controlled by what is know as genotype (genes) or the DNA (from its parents and ancestors) that a bird has. Genes usually come together in pairs of the same aspect (trait)(two doses) , although some are just one gene (one dose) in female chckens. Some traits are controlled by just one gene - other traits are controlled by a couple of genes working together. Each gene is sort of like paint - some can cover other colors (dominant), some will mix with other colors(intermediate or heterozygous), and some are such that they are covered by almost anything else (recessive). That's about all there is to real basic genetics - phenotype, genotype, trait, gene, dominant,intermediate, and recessive.

    Basic Chicken Color Genetics - Part 1
    The genetics of chicken colors comes down to about four trait groups - 1 Color Distribution or basic color family, 2 - Uniform color or body color family, 3 - Color Restricting or black distribution family, 4 - Color Pattern or feather color pattern family . Each of these groups or families have several different genes (or combination of genes) and would take individual discussion topics.

    If people find this helpful, let me know I'll continue with future topic posts to continue to solidify what I know and hopeful help others know what I think I know too.

  2. KDailey

    KDailey Crazy Cochin Lady

    Jun 27, 2011
    Bronson, Tx
    Yes, yes, yes! This is exactly what I needed!

    I've been dying to learn the genetic side of things for a while but I just can't follow on the breed threads as the people already know so much that they go about explaining things in a way that is not very easy for someone to understand that doesn't even know the basics.

    Please please please continue! And make it so simple that you could explain it to an elementary kid. lol. I need it that basic!
  3. nicalandia

    nicalandia Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 16, 2009
    Quote:Thanks for all of your help, if I can ask one favor is just help people around here with questions.. I do all I can to help around here but I welcome your help also...
  4. catdaddyfro

    catdaddyfro Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 16, 2009
    Vernon Parish
    Quote:Yes, by all means do carry on. You did it with a K.I.S.S. (keep it short and sweet/simple) and I need that I'm very dense skulled or as my Mom says hard-headed(moi, no never) sometimes and it takes a bit for things to soak in but once I got'em, I got 'em. I too can tell that you are and educator/teacher as I was raised by a teacher/preacher=Grandaddy and my Mom is a retired Special Ed. teacher and I need/needed that from time to time myself. I have a whole passel of kinfolk/cousins that are teachers, me I'm a mechanic [​IMG] I guess I simply missed the boat or train, [​IMG] something on that one IDK.

    Anyway good info, Mas, mas.

  5. KDailey

    KDailey Crazy Cochin Lady

    Jun 27, 2011
    Bronson, Tx
    Wow...I just went to the site that shows reviews and such on this book and it is amazing! I'm definately putting it on my list of things to buy ASAP.
  6. flyingmonkeypoop

    flyingmonkeypoop Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 30, 2007
    Deer Park Washington
    Great job. For me personally what helped me learn is looking at the basic red junglefowl color. I got to understand it then started learning the different mutations over time, how adding one gene or taking away another affects the color or other traits
  7. Rosaleen

    Rosaleen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2011
    Danville, Vermont
    I am hatching eggs with my fifth graders this month, we go into lockdown next Fri. Your description of color genetics will be very helpful to our discussions. Thanks.
  8. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Please continue with the lessons!

    I get basic genetics; but need bird genetics.
  9. Henk69

    Henk69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 29, 2008
    Groesbeek Netherlands
    I don't get the 4 groups yet. You may want to start to elaborate.
  10. Meara

    Meara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 23, 2011
    Hi "mibirder" [​IMG]
    I'm also a biologist/teacher and have taught genetics. This is a link associated with the "chicken calculator" that I've found helpful:

    For those who have never played with the chicken color calculator the link is: http://kippenjungle.nl/kruisingCQ.html

    lots of fun. You can enter a male with certain colors/genes and a female and then mate them and look at the colors of the offspring. There are tabs at the top that you can click on for more information. One of the tabs is "help/links" and will take you to a page with more links to genetics info.

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