Genetics of bearded dragons
Note the information below belongs to ApolloDragonsNL, she gave us permission you should check out her website! website!
Genetics are a very interesting thing. There are so many options! Unfortunately beginners make the mistake and start off without knowing the basics. That's why I focuse this text entirely on the types of genetics and the do's and don'ts.
Hypomelanism means a reduction in black pigment. (Hypo means less and melanistic means pigment) There is a production of black pigment, only during transport it goes wrong, making it look lighter than a "normal" bearded dragon.
But how do you recognize a hypo? You can recognize by their white nails, so a white nail on each toe, that's 100% real hypos. If there is a black nail on a toe, you should not speak about a hypo but you have a "normal" light bearded dragon. In addition to the white nails, they often also have lighter shoulder pads. These are normally black and in hypos they are often blue / gray in color.
Why is a bearded dragon Hypo melanistic? Hypomelanism is caused by something not going well in the melanin production (pigment) or the transport to the pigment cells (melanophores). However, a bearded dragon can also be heterozygous for Hypo (abbreviated: Het. Hypo). This means that the bearded dragon is a carrier of the Hypo Gene, but is “normal” in appearance, so it has no white nails, is darker pigmented than the Hypo and often has black shoulder pads.
The reason that these animals are also interesting is because they carry the Hypo Gene and they are also Het. for Hypos it is a bit lighter colored than the “normal colored” bearded dragons, so the colors often stand out a bit better. As soon as you cross this animal with a 100% Hypo you will always get a certain percentage of Hypos, and the rest (so without the appearance of a Hypo) will carry the Hypo Gene (So HET stands for Hypo). This also applies to all recessive genes. Such as Trans, Witblits, zero and so on.
These are also animals that are clearly recognizable by a genetic error, they have whole pieces of transparent (transparent) skin. With small animals it's often extreme. as they get older, the skin thickens, but you can still see it well.
The Gen error in these animals is caused by missing the white pigment. The iridophores * and leucophores ** are missing, so the white pigment allows the light to pass through and makes them visibly “transparent”.
* iridophores: cells that reflect light using crystalline plates. ** leucophores: white skin cells.
This actually goes without saying. A hypotrans has both the Hypo gene and the Translucent gene. This has been accomplished through selective breeding. For example, a pairing of Hypo the trans x Hypo the trans ensures that 50% of the nest becomes Hypotrans. The rest of the nest is Hypo 66.6% trans.
HypoTrans Leatherback Zero from ApolloDragonsNL; You can see that the skin is a little transparant (trans) the nails are white (hypo)
Leatherback and Silkback
Both the Leatherback and the Silkback are a genetic disorder. The back of a Leatherback bearded dragon is smooth and feels like “leather”, hence the name Leatherback. There are a lot of different types of Leatherback on the market. You have the American Smoothie and the Italian Leatherback. Silkbacks are according to Lonneke Jansen from ApolloDragonsNL pure animal cruelty. Leatherback x Leatherback is packaged with these animals. This ensures that the skin becomes even more fragile than with a leatherback. The skin feels incredibly soft and no longer has the characteristic spines that make the bearded dragon so recognizable.
With a Leatherback with a co-dominant gene it actually works very simple. You need 1 Leatherback to pass on the properties. So when you cross a Leatherback with a “normal” bearded dragon, about 50% of the offspring will be Leatherback and 50% normal. Crossing 2 Leatherbacks creates a mutation called Silkback. This is a kind of super gene of the leatherback (the genetic disorder is thus doubled).
Leatherback Bearded Dragon they have a skin that feels like "leather"
USA Smoothie (Recessive leatherback) and Micro scale
The USA Smoothie originated in America. This is the recessive form of Leatherback. So this gene works the same as Hypo, Trans, Zero, Witblits and so on. This originated completely separate from the codominant. Nowadays they call the USA smoothie a recessive leatherback.
To get a Micro scale it is necessary to pair a Co-dominant Italian leatherback with a Recessive (USA smoothie). With a Micro scale, the scales are halved in size and even finer in construction than with a normal leatherback. Nowadays you don't see them much anymore in the Netherlands (our country), because there is no more demand for it. Which is very unfortunate, because it is a very interesting gene.
Dunner is a fairly new gene discovered by Dragons Den herp in America. Apart from the fact that Dunners stand out because of their pattern, they also have another special feature. Namely that the thorns of a thinner do not grow in the same direction as with a normal bearded dragon. This is best seen on the belly and on the beard.
Dunner Bearded Dragon you can see that the spikes go in different directions; Image belongs to ApolloDragonsNL
Witblits, Zero and Wero are the newest genes on the market. Witblits originated in South Africa. Ghost Dragons from Germany bred the first Zero. Witblits is a completely patternless bearded dragon. Features are the shoulder pads that have no color. The Witblits generally have a bit of a creamy glow. Now nowadays people manage to get color in it. This results in a beautiful Witblits. Zero, on the other hand, is also completely patternless, but also completely colorless. Wero is the very latest morph. It is a cross of a Zero and a Witblits. Outwardly they look like a Zero and a witblits in one.
Zero Bearded Dragon; Image belongs to ApolloDragonsNL
Albinism is the innate lack of melamine pigment in the skin resulting in partially or completely white skin and red eyes. Albinos are quite common in other animal species, perfectly recognizable by the red eyes. (A white animal with black eyes and / or black nails is therefore not an albino!) Albinism is a genetic disorder that has hitherto arisen from parents, who are both heterozygous for albino. Not much is known about it, as it occurs sporadically. Do they exist? Yes, there are pictures of it, but no one has yet managed to breed the animals older than 6 to 8 weeks. Some people therefore call it fatal genetics.
A word from Lonneke Jansen (ApolloDragonsNL)
I would like to add that it is not wise to mix some genetics together. For example, I do not recommend breeding Recessive genes together. For example Trans x Trans and Witblits x Witblits. Hypo is the only recessive gene strong enough to survive even in nature. So hypo with hypo is no problem at all. The rest are all too weak to do this.
with Witblits and Zero it is even the most wise to only Pair Het x Het .
Unfortunately, many breeders do not take this into account because there is not much money to be made. That's because with Het x Het pairing, only a few visual animals come out and the rest of that nest becomes 66.6 possible (Witblits / Zero / Hypo). (About 33.3% of the nest is Visual, 33.3% will have the gene Carrying and the other 33.3% will not carry any Gen) This is not visible from the outside so call this 66.6% possible Het. So when you buy a Hypo 66.6% possible you have the Trans, 66.6% chance that it carries the Trans Gen. for example, purchase a Hypo 66.6% possible the Trans, 66.6% chance that it carries the Trans Gen.