Alpaca Color Genetics
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to hear Andy Merriwether, PhD of Nyala Farm Alpacas speak on the topic of color genetics in alpacas. Here are some things I learned:
- Alpacas are the most color variable mammal on the planet
- 60% of blue-eyed white alpacas are deaf
- Light colors dominate over darker colors
- White is dominant to everything
- Black is not dominant over anything
- Each alpaca has a Base Color Gene (what we see)
- Each alpaca has a Second Color Gene (what we don’t see but can often determine through research)
- Each alpaca has two colors and the lighter of them is what we see (phenotype)
- Multis and Appaloosas have a dark-spotting gene
- Tuxedo Greys and some others have a white-spotting gene
- White-spotting gene is dominant
- A dilution gene can take a black and dilute it up to fawn (MFI Tapioka whose base color is black)
So if we find out what our alpaca’s secondary color is, we have a better chance at determining the possible colors of his/her offspring. We found out that SCA Peruvian Magnum’s secondary color was black. This means that half of the time he breeds, he contributes his black color genetics to the cria. Priceless.
Our homework from the class was to determine each alpaca in our herd’s secondary color. If you don’t see me for awhile, you’ll know what I’m doing.