Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A Horse of a Different Color Gene

I happened to run across this interesting page about the "cremello" and equine genetics -- ie, why it's not proper to call these horses albino even though they look it. I always wondered about this thing with white and black points in horses. They also have a handy color chart of what happens with "dilution" by the cream color gene. (Silver and dun apparently act similarly, but are different colors in their own right.)

All this is in aid of a group supporting pink-skinned, blue-eyed cream-colored horses. I'm not sure I'd be into breeding such horses, but certainly the horses themselves are worthy of support. It shouldn't surprise anyone, either, given all the other coloring-based organizations, like the ones supporting palominos and paints, or this one I've never run across looking for champagne horses.

That "champagne" site includes some fascinating info on newly discovered color genes which mimick the one they're looking for. This site charts the "Pearl" gene found in at least one lineage of Andalusians, as well as other "new" (ie, previously unrecognized) genetic horse color weirdnesses. So far, it looks as if the vast majority of these weird genes are not necessarily new, and may all go back to Spain's Andalusians and through them from Arabian horses. This would not be any great surprise to people who know horse history.

Here's a whole site dedicated to equine coat colors, including the common color changes between foal and adult. Fascinating stuff.

But all this is making me feel very worried about the science behind the imaginary horse breeding program I carried out in third grade. I tried to be careful about realistic color consequences, but I have the uneasy feeling that all the Arabs and Akhal-Tekes I was using would have skewed my results considerably.

(And that, btw, is yet another example of "stuff kids are interested in which adults don't or can't openly support". Any girl who's really interested in horses ends up learning a vast amount about breeding, but somehow I doubt the Barbie Horse Farm software has anything about breeding or genetics at all.)

Apparently there's now an Akhal-Teke breeder not far away from one of my grandmas. (Siiiiiigh!) The owners were having trouble maintaining the typical metallic "shine" of their coats in the non-Swedish sun of Florida. But the comment box knows and tells all....

Over on the other owner's blog, there's a sad post about a noted breeder currently imprisoned in Turkmenistan.


  • At 7:53 AM, Blogger Fi said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • At 7:55 AM, Blogger Fi said…

    Gosh! The things you learn. Thanks for this post. I, for one, found it fascinating.
    Phil - trying again to get the spelling under control.


Post a Comment

<< Home