Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Guess the Genotype #25

Can you guess this dog's genotype? Can you also guess his breed?

Image is from under a creative commons license

This handsome fellow is named Duke and he's a Labrador retriever. He looks like any old chocolate lab, right? Not quite! He's actually a tan pointed mismark, but the tan is so similar to the liver color that it could be fairly easily missed. In fact, in certain light this dog's points are nearly invisible. Anyway, here's his genotype:

Since he has the classic tan markings of a tan pointed dog, he must be atat tan pointed at the Agouti locus. I am suspicious that the Labrador breed is fixed for tan point under the other genes that produce their normally solid-colored coats. This is because when a mismark of this type does show up, it's tan pointed rather than expressing any of the other Agouti genes.

Duke must also be bb liver, since he is clearly not black. All chocolate Labradors are homozygous for the liver gene.

As for how he can possibly have tan points in the first place, most Labradors are KK (homozygous dominant black) at the Black locus, though occasionally dogs will be Kkbr (black carrying brindle) or Kk (black carrying non-black/brindle). As such, they can produce puppies that are kbrkbr (homozygous brindle), kbrk (brindle carrying non-black/brindle) or kk (non-black/brindle). These last three genotypes allow the genes on the Agouti locus to show through and would be what produces the tan pointed and brindle pointed mismarks that are occasionally seen in the breed. Since I see no evidence of stripes in Duke's tan, he must be kk non-black/brindle.

So, that's atat bb kk or liver and tan (aka chocolate and tan mismark).


  1. whoa. this blew my mind.

    mostly because I wonder, would the average breeder know this? or care? or use it to their advantage?

  2. From what I can tell, a lot of Labrador breeds are pretty clueless beyond the basic black/yellow/chocolate inheritance. It seems that most of the mismarks are surprises that will pop up in a litter on occasion, and then the breeders get all worked up. Usually, it's just an "oh, well, pet home you go" sort of thing.

    I don't think it would be very feasible to breed out the color from the population, since it's a recessive it can stay hidden for generations before the right mating will bring it out. Since there is DNA testing now, it could be possible, but I don't see why any breeder would be crazy enough to do it. It's really a harmless thing.

    It does seem like the mismarks might be more common in the non-showing lines. Most of the images I have seen are of dogs that have come from guide dog or field/working breeders. Which makes sense, because generally appearance isn't a big deal in those camps.

  3. I hope you have already thought about this before you decide on your dog run cleaning and sterilizing your dog’s living space is just as important as cleaning your own living space.