Recent breakthroughs in colour genetics

10 10 2006

Barlink Gold Rush

Barlink Gold Rush (Barlink Macho Man x Barkota Bell), Paint stallion

The “Barlink” dilution (so called because it is found in horses descended from the Paint stallion Barlink Macho Man) resembles the effects of both the champagne gene and the “Pearl” dilution (which I mentioned in an earlier post):

In single dose, the Barlink factor appears to dilute the skin of the carriers. The chestnuts with submitted photographs have pink speckles on their otherwise black skin, very similar to what happens on many cream dilutes. The gene is not cream, as these mares do not demonstrate the cream gene when tested by UC Davis. With a single Barlink gene, the coat color does not seem to be affected.

In double dose, the Barlink factor appears to dilute the hair coat to a medium dilute shade (similar to one cream or one champagne gene), and dilutes the skin to near pink.

The Barlink factor appears to enhance cream, essentially causing a double dilution of the hair coat, skin and eyes. This would cause the phenomenon of pseudo-cremello and pseudo-smoky cream foals. I have not yet seen the effect on buckskin, but it is likely a pseudo-perlino would result. (Link)

The brilliant folks at UC Davis have recently announced that they have come up with a genetic test for the Barlink dilution, which they are calling “apricot”. The tests are done using mane or tail hair with the roots attached.

Update (Oct 22/06): UC Davis is now calling this dilution “pearl”. It’s been found to be the same gene, and most likely came to the Paint/QH gene pool through the breeds’ Spanish ancestry. Lovely how everything comes full circle. 🙂
Wilson's Smoky Jo

Wilson’s Smoky Jo, black silver dapple Missouri Foxtrotter stallion

The gorgeous silver dapple gene (which the Aussies call ‘taffy’) dilutes black pigment: on a black horse, the body colour becomes a silver or chocolate colour, with the mane and tail turning silvery. On bay, brown or buckskin horses, the manes, tails and leg points are diluted while the body usually stays red or tan, depending on the base colour. A new study has just been published identifying the gene responsible; a test for silver dapple can’t be far behind. So far, the colour has been identified in the following breeds: Shetlands, Welsh Ponies, mustangs, Miniature Horses, Icelandics, Missouri Foxtrotters, Tennessee Walkers, Rocky Mountain Horses, Quarter Horses and Morgans (but may be in other breeds as well). Speaking of Morgans, Laura Behning has done a lot of research into the silver dapple gene in Morgans (and bred a corker of a bay silver dapple colt this year): The Silver Dapple Morgans Project.

Fourteen ways to sneak another horse home

10 10 2006

Goldtree Flamboyant

Goldtree Flamboyant, a Morgan stallion who can come live at my house any time!

1. Move the fish to the cellar, the goats to the kitchen, the uncle to the sofa and the dogs to the barn. Rotate weekly. Add a horse to the mix on the fifth week. Stop the rotation when the horse gets to the barn. Confused but grateful spouse won’t question further.

2.Tell your spouse that “Ed” is here to repair the cable.

3. “This? This isn’t a horse. This is a Common Black-Throated Northern Debt-Precursor.”

Read the rest at West Grange Farm.

Butterscotch, My Furreal Friends Pony

10 10 2006


According to Toy Wishes magazine, Butterscotch, My Furreal Friends Pony (from Hasbro) is slated to be one of the hottest toys this holiday season. “The Butterscotch furreal friends pony has many features just like a real pony, including moving eyes, ears and head, soft fur coat and a swishing tail. Butterscotch the pony loves being groomed, and fed. Kids can even sit on Butterscotch, who gently bounces.” Suggested retail price: $299.99 US. Link (Engadget seems less than enthralled…)

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