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Total Fur Color Genetics

Total fur colors and patterns affect the whole body. All of these genes are found in individuals, whether they are expressed or not.

  Fur color is a complex trait. How colors are exhibited follows a list of rules.
  1. Eumelanin and Pheomelanin are co-dominant. If an individual posses both an E and P, then both colors will be shown on the pelt.
  2. Within the eumelanin and pheomelanin series, multiple types of dominance are present:
    • Capital letters are more dominant than lowercase letters.
      • E would mask e
      • P would mask p
    • Single letters are more dominant than double letters, and double letters are more dominant than triple letters.
      • E would mask EE
      • pp would mask ppp
    • Dominance rules only effect the series in which it is present.
      • Both E and ppp would be shown
  • The allele for tabby patterns is dominant, so a self-colored individual would need two copies of the T* allele.
  • If an individual has two different copies of a patterned allele, the allele that's towards the beginning of the alphabet is more dominant.
    • Ta will mask Th, and Tc will mask Td, et cetera
  • W+ allele is recessive.
  • W1-10 are dominant.
  • If an individual inherits two copies of a dominant allele, the amount of white shown will be between the grades of the alleles.
    • For example, if an individual has W4W8, it will show between 40%-80% white coverage.
  • The D gene is present in every individual, however, only those with both eumelanin and pheomelanin expression exhibit it.
  • Each grade is defined by the degree of blending between the black and red pigment.
    • Split= Broadest division, half of the body is each color.
    • Bicolor= Large, defined patches of each color.
    • Painted= Mid-range blending, can have large and small patches of color.
    • Tortoiseshell= Only has small streaks of each color throughout.
    • Roan= Most homogeneous blend, each hair could be either color.
  • D1 and D5 are the rarest types of bicolor.
  • If two different grades of bicoloration are inherited, the expressed pattern will fall between the grades.
  • The allele for colorpoint is recessive, so for an individual to be colorpoint, both alleles must be q.
  • Colorpointing has three tiers of intensity: high, mid, and low contrast.
  • Colorpointing also overlaps with tabby patterns. The tabby markings are only shown in the dark areas of the colorpoint, not in the white.
  • Albinism is a trait that prevents the production of either eumelanin or pheomelanin. An affected individual will still have genes for those colors, but the pigment cells cannot build and deposit the pigment.
  • Albinism can inhibit one of the pelt color pigments, or both.
    • An individual with eumelanin albinism will show pheomelanin as normal, and will also show some pheomelanin where the eumelanin should have been.

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