Long Distance Racing
Subject: Red Trentons
Have some interesting news. Last month, we had Dr. Dan Smith of Goshen College in the area collecting blood samples to do "pigeon genome" work. Dan is working with a couple other researchers at other Universities on determining the “pigeon genome”. I took four black-flecked red Oshaben Trentons to Dan, and people from his crew took blood samples, which were then transported back to Goshen College for analysis.
Dan called today to tell me that your birds are unique to the pigeon world.
Recessive red in pigeons has been researched by several Universities and they have determined that there are two distinctly different genes for recessive red (and the different reds appear to be identical to the human eye). You can not see a difference between them. Anyway, both of these reds are “deletion” mutations on the SOX gene. Researchers have determined that the “gene” we call recessive red is actually a known gene we call “SOX” (and i can’t remember the rest of the name, it is actually a couple more letters or numbers in the name) gene, and a piece of it is missing! Both recessive reds are due to different pieces of the gene missing. Many of our genes are “mutations” were the genetic material is altered, and the result is something different from normal. In the case of recessive red, part of the gene is missing! Both reds are due to parts missing, but it is two different parts. The gene works, but not as it should, so instead of a normal blue color being produced, the pigment is red.
Think of a gene as a string of alphabets all hooked together. Actually think of hundreds of alphabets all hooked together. One of the recessive reds is due to the 13th alphabet missing G, H, I, J, and K missing. The other recessive red is due to the 153rd alphabet missing M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, and Y missing. Both result in identically colored recessive red.
Now, in my opinion, your reds are a better, richer, and darker red than the “normal” red.
Well, after telling you all that, Dr. Smith tells us that your black-flecked reds are neither one of the known recessive reds.
The 64 thousand dollar question is: Is Oshaben Trenton red another version of the SOX recessive red or something entirely different!
Now what has to be done is what I can do in my loft. I will have to mate one of those black-flecked reds to an unrelated recessive red and see if the pair produces recessive reds. If it does, then we will know that your black-flecked red is on the SOX gene, but the guys at the Universities will have to do the molecular work to determine if it is another deleted section or an actual rearrangement of genetic material. I don’t currently have any other recessive reds to test the Oshaben’s, but have ordered some from a guy in California, and they should arrive tomorrow. They are squeekers, so looks like I can’t do any testing till next Spring. In the mean time, I will outcross one of the Oshabens to an unrelated blue to try and determine why most of the reds have white in them. I assume it is grizzle, but don’t know that for sure. Need to make that mating.
Anyway, wanted to let you know that we know now that your red Trentons really are special! They are not your normal reds. Hopefully in another couple years we can determine EXACTLY how they are different.
Have enjoyed your photos. Need to come down and photograph some of your birds for the University guys and gals. Will do so after it cools down in a couple weeks.
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