I don't fully understand the big fuss with hets.
With genetics, there are going to be het genes. I'm studying biochemistry currently, and have dabbled in the topic of genetics in the past. I haven't yet taken the genetics class at my college but despite all warnings I'm tempted to take it. But a lot of het genes exist in nature.
My female Leo is het tremper albino, blizzard, and eclipse, and I'd like to breed her, as a hobbyist. But this whole thread has made me feel like wanting to breed her is a bad thing! Like I might dirty things up more with her het genes! Or that she is some dirty het mutt! I understand wanting to keep things "pure," but that's virtually impossible in any species. Almost every single domesticated animal has been subjected to selective breeding for certain traits, appearances, etc. I understand the issue with enigmas--neurological problems are serious. I think that breeders should continue to breed them, but with the purpose of seeing if the issue will eventually be bred out. Not sell them necessarily (though I have seen breeders who explicitly put a note on their site warning about enigmas, which I think is the right thing to do). I wouldn't mind studying them as a research project, personally. Find the enigma gene and determine if that gene or a gene near it is causing the neurological issue… I would enjoy that extremely. Yes, I'm weird like that.
Genetics are extremely complicated. Not only do you have combination of two individuals in an offspring, but sections of the genome of the parents can, basically, be migrated between the sequences in the offspring. And pieces can be removed and inserted elsewhere in the sequence. So, rarely will there be any "pure" animals of the species. It happens naturally. It's probably the reason the different subspecies came to be in nature. Even if you "cleaned up the lines", eventually, an animal that was supposedly "pure" could show something new or different, just due to genetic migration.
I agree, Meredith. Genetic variation is always a good thing. I do, however, understand how people might get frustrated if they really want to select for certain traits and cannot seem to find sources of breeding stock without the hets they do not want in theirs. It is possible with patience though, and if you want to devote your time to breeding a pure line of one type of gecko, more power to you.
Breeding together different lines of albino gets bad if you end up breeding together two geckos that are both het for multiple albino lines. While you could try to take a guess at what albino strain the offspring are, it sets you up for an awful lot of test breeding. It could be even worse if you have a gecko you don't know is het for two lines... The snow lines are a different matter. There really isn't a great way to ever separate out which snow genes are at play once you've mixed multiple lines. :/
I get not breeding certain things together that are genetically "incompatible." Especially in a market such as this which involves a lot of breeding for particular traits and needing to know the genetics as accurately as possible to be able to give correct information to your customers who may want to breed as well.
My feelings about this topic stems mostly from people who talk about getting "pure" animals from wild-caught lines and breeding "pure" geckos because they're "clean" or "without hets". In my absolutely awful Molecular and Cellular Biology class, we discussed gene mutation. Basic mutations such as deletion or addition that happen in an individuals, pretty much everyone knows about that. Those are generally fixed. Then there are more complex mutations that happen as well, particularly during gene combination of reproduction. One thing that can happen is migration of a sequence. A section gets pulled out and put somewhere else. At least 90% of our genetic material is non-coding, so mostly it's not a big deal, though it can interrupt start/stop sequences which sometimes which can cause problems, but generally they change the way something else is expressed. This can happen during combination or before in a reproductive cell. Obviously, everyone knows each parent contributes to the genetics of the offspring. What some people do not know or often realize is that when the donated parent genes come together, the strands can cross and literally switch the portions that crossed. Not just a short segment, but a whole lot of code! That switch can change how many things are expressed. If the switch happens in a coding sequence, it can change some expression. If it happens in a non-coding sequence, it can also change how the next coding sequence is expressed. It can can not just change HOW it is expressed, but WHAT is expressed. It can make something entirely new show up! It's most likely what causes paradox spots, in my opinion, and probably also causes some other desirable traits such as white nose and tail tips on some morphs, or the white markings on the super galaxies.
I admire the people who want to breed pure wild-type geckos and select for certain traits they particularly like. A pattern type or color expression I guess, I'm not sure. That's actually kind of cool. It's like creating a new morph, but starting from more basic building blocks. What I don't get is the people who act so negatively toward geckos with het genes. Even geckos from wild-caught parents are going to be "het" for something. It may not be something noticeable, at least not to the naked eye, when an offspring is homo for that trait. Genotypic expression instead of phenotypic expression, or something microscopic. But every individual on this planet is het for something or another. I'm not saying if you breed two WC geckos you are going to get some kind of morph you weren't expecting. But genes are weird. Even if you kept a group of pure WCs, something that you didn't expect is bound to show up. Variety is the spice of life, and DNA is one way that is maintained
There are a lot of new members that should read this post. Hoping this will get some attention again.
Please remember that what you do affects all of us. You can't control what others do with the "pet only" geckos you sell. We can all work to clean up the genetics by producing animals from geckos with known genetics. There are so many quality breeders out there that there is no reason to breed pet store geckos or geckos you pick up on craigslist. If you want to be a breeder, do it the right way. Learn everything you can about genetics and then only buy from quality breeders. If you need recommendations, many of us can help you out by pm.
I am encouraging new breeders, but I also hope that they learn before throwing two animals together. There is so much more to breeding than that. It's a learning process that doesn't end.
OK check this out. I have 2 leos one male one female and they are from +++++ I know buying from them is not a good idea. But they have struck a place in my heart and I am looking into breeding them as a hobby I have done a lot of studying and I am doing even more as you read this. I am not just going to pair them up right now I am trying to figure out what they are. Any help in pointing me the right way would be great. Sadly I think I am dabling in Muddy Waters but I would like to give this a go I have room I have time I have a place for all of them hell iv already sold some and there not even close to being ready yet or started on them for that matter. So ill get started with what little I know I know I have one male and one female, the male is 6 months old the female is one year and 3 months. Now as far as morphs thats where I am now I am trying to figure out what they are. So far I am down to my male being maby Trimper Albino reason being he is light yellow with broken bands with chocolate spots all over including head. My female could be (this is a shot in the dark) Murphys Paternless, or just plain paternless or normal Leucistic. I do not want to cross Albinos but if they are and I do deside to breed them. I would like to clean the water, how would I go about doing that. I know as a new comer this is a lot to take on but anything worth doing is worth doing right. From what I have read it can be done but not many have done it. I would like to do this and see where it takes me. I am sure it seems like I have no idea what I am doing and you would be correct. Witch is why I am here I want to do it and I want to do it RIGHT. I am researching my research to get this right. You can email me at [email protected] or find me on iherp where u can find both photos of my gecko I know its a lot to ask but I am willing to dedicate all of my time to this. So if any one could help me or just point me in the right direction or hell call me if your in the NC area and help me get the ball rolling thank you for your time. There was more to this but my net crashed and I cant remember what all I had said thank you all for our time.