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Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

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GitaBooks
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby GitaBooks » Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:47 pm

naja-naja wrote:i keep reptiles, and i can say that albino and scaleless animals have no health issues what so ever, adult specimens of both have been discovered in the wild in several species, so clearly the disadvantage isn't that great. any difficulty posed by these traits in a wild setting are more than offset by the artificial advantages that zero predators, ready supply of food, climactic control and veterinary care provided in captivity. truly damaging morphs (platinum line leucistic reticulated pythons, super jaguar carpet pythons, several ball python super forms and combinations, super motley boas etc etc) are usually avoided by breeders or if accidentally produced are used as feeders and so never enter the pet or breeding market.
i don't know about the other mutations you described, but note that dwarfism in reptiles is usually a naturally occurring phenomenon, usually associated with island populations, examples include boas that get 4-5 feet long instead of 8 foot plus, and reticulated pythons that reach 6-10 foot instead of 15--18 foot.



Insular dwarfisim is different then the mutation causing stunted growth and short bones. Insular dwarfisim exists in a lot of different species and is actually really cool. There are miniature foxes, miniature deer, and miniature horses. icon-smile
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GitaBooks
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby GitaBooks » Sat Feb 06, 2016 12:13 am

I just watched a heart-breaking but so truthful video on dog health issues called: Pedigree Dogs Exposed

Now, I thought it was amazingly true. I want to help fix breeds, not get rid of them. There is a lot of work to be done, but for the sake of all those dogs and owners out there we can do it! icon-smile

Though maybe not drive people as crazy as the reporters in the documentary did. :lol:
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GitaBooks
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby GitaBooks » Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:47 pm

I've been doing a lot of research on animal colors and the genetics behind them and sadly found that many white colors are linked to health issues. I love the color white in animals, and not all of them are, but I just thought I would share why the color white can lead to behavior, immune system, and physical health complications.

Melanin is not only the pigment that colors mammals, it is used for more then just make a dog black, brown, tan or blue. Melanin is very important in helping us regulate UV light from the sun and responds to more time in the sunlight by tanning (or freckling).
Melanin helps to protect or eyes so that when we look at bright objects they are not injured (well, really bright things can still be bad).
As a matter of fact, in wild cats melanin has been linked with better immune system functions and immunity towards certain viruses and many cat populations, particulalry in forests (where they better blend in) or on cold mountain tops (where the dark color absorbs the suns warmth) are melanistic.
Melanin helps to absorb the warmth of the sun and so can assist creatures like reptiles in thermoregulation. Some species will darken in color while basking and lighten when cool enough to help regulate their temperature.

In Vertebrates, melanin is synthesized from the amino-acid tyrosine in vesicular organelles (melanosomes) of neural-crest derived cells called melanophores (or melanocytes). These interact with the endocrine, immune and nervous system.
For this reason, melanin is linked with many of the highly important functions of the brain and body and without its production or when its production is altered it can lead to more then a simple change in skin, fur, feather, scale, or eye color. It can also lead to changes in behavior and health.

For example, without melanin in the skin thermoregulation, UV filtering and cancer protection is cut down, which can lead to issues in creatures that spend time in the sunlight. Wild animals also are prone to predation, but as pets this is not a problem.
Without melanin in the eyes then the retinofugal optic fibers are misrouted and can lead to crossed eyes (as seen in Siamese cats). Any bright lighting leads to pain in the sensitive eyes and visual acuity is decreased due to light scattering with-in the eye. Sight is also reduced due to foveal hypoplasia and possible light-induced retinal damage.
Nystagmus (irregular rapid movement of the eye) can be seen in albinos, Amblyopia (trouble seeing because of poor transmission to the brain), and optic nerve hypoplasia (underdevelopment of the optic nerve).
Melanocytes are found in the central nervous system, including areas of the brain responisble for mood and responses to stress. Albino or white animals often have behaviors changes with coloration changes. Small amounts of white are linked to calmer, tamer species (which is why many animals selected for tame behavior will often developed piebalding). However, large amounts of white (as soon in some pinto horses and dalmatian dogs) is linked with stress, nervousness and aggression.
Melanocytes are found in the inner ear and impaired migration of these melanocyes can lead to deafness in many white animals in one or both ears (to vary degrees). Blue-eyed White Cats, white-faced ferrets, many pied dogs (including dalmations) all have a risk of being born deaf.
There is also a risk of abnormalities in the skull and body shape its self, as seen in wardy ferrets. There may be problems with balance and coordination because of the misformed brain.
Some forms of white can also be lethal (known as Lethal White). While it isn't technically deadly, when two merle dogs are bred together their puppies are often blind and deaf and many breeders will put them down at birth. This is called Double Merle.
Lethal White foals will usually die soon after birth and are produced in Pinto horses when a foal as has too much white on them.
Lethal forms of spotting are seen in Gerbils, Mice, Rats, Dwarf Hamsters, and Syrian Hamsters and if two copies of said gene are put together then the babies are likely to die or be born without eyes.

No animal should have to live with sight, hearing, or brain issues because the wonder of being able to hear is what lets an animal enjoy life to its fullest. I hope to continue my studies and find the best ways to keep animals healthy and still allow for the wonderful variety of colors and breeds seen today. However, if some colors must be stopped for health reasons, I believe it should be done. Many people are against the breeding of Double Merles, wardy ferrets and other such animals for this reason.

Thanks for reading this long post. : )
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:53 pm

I think if people get more selective with their breeding it could help most cases. Think about it polar bears are white but they hear and see just fine and there are healthy populations of white squirrels and then you have half white species like zebra and penguins. If white is inextricably linked to these issues these species could never have developed so if we mimic nature and can prevent the breeding of the ones with issues you could get healthy white breeds too. There are hearing tests for dogs, it's a bit stressful for them but might be good for breeders to do, x-rays can be stressful too but good breeders check hips, good breeders should start checking hearing at least for potential parents if not pups too of white animals.

Some may be unfixable though. With as high a rate of deafness as there is in white boxers it's hard to believe it could be turned around but maybe. They actually have tried to breed white out of the lines, as whites are not allowed so aren't bred but they still always pop up in litters. So may e an unfixabl breed.
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GitaBooks
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Re: Promoting Unhealthy Mutations

Postby GitaBooks » Fri Feb 12, 2016 6:50 pm

I didn't mean to make it sound like all white animals are unhealthy. White animals aren't always linked with health problems, especially naturally white animals (polar bears actually have dark skin and clear fur that reflects light to look white, its really cool). We have owned white animals and colored animals with white patterning that were completely healthy. That's what makes it so difficult with animals, two animals of the same "color" can have completely different genetics.

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