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Genetics 000
Dark Colors

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Breeding the Dark, Solid Colors

Today, since DNA testing is available, there is no need to "play Russian roulette" when it comes to horse colors and breeding.

Even without DNA testing, the horse's appearance, ancestors and foals can reveal, in many cases, what color genetics the horse is carrying.

Therefore, this section will concentrate on the results of crossing dark solid colors with known genetics.

CHART 1 will eventually show all of the probabilities of various color results when crossing the four dark, solid colors with each other.  Please be patient while it is gradually completed.

Other than those scientifically predictable results, here are some specific examples:        
                                                   ( X  = "crossed with" ) 

  • Chestnut X chestnut will always produce a chestnut foal

  • Bay X bay can produce any of the four dark, solid colors, depending upon the genes that fill in these blanks for each parent: E_A_

    • If one parent is EEAA then every foal will be a bay (100%)

    • If both parents are Ee, Aa then the foal color chances are 56.25% bay, 18.75% black, and 25% chestnut

    • The chances change again with the presence of brown (At)

  • Brown X brown may produce brown, black, or chestnut, but not bay

  • Black X black (both parents E_aa) will always produce a black foal if one parent is EE; If both are Ee, then the chance of black is 75% and the chance of a chestnut foal would be 25%

  • Chestnut X {any of the three black-based colors} has the potential of producing any of those four colors, unless the chestnut's agouti genes are known.  Here are a few possibilities:

    • If a chestnut that was ee, AA was bred to a solid black that was EE, aa then every single foal would be bay.  If the solid black was Ee, the each foal would have a 50% chance of being bay or black

    • If a chestnut has one black parent, then we can be sure it has at least one a, and if it has two black parents, then we know it is aa.

    • A chestnut that had two black parents, when bred to a black which is EE, will produce all black foals.

    • But chestnuts from bay or chestnut parents could be carrying any of the "A" genes, and there is no way of knowing.

      • If a chestnut produced a bay foal when bred to a solid black, that would be proof that the chestnut had at least one A. 

      • If a chestnut produced a brown foal when bred to a solid black, that would be proof that the chestnut had at least one At and no A.

      • If a chestnut produced a solid black foal when bred to a solid black, that would be proof that the chestnut had at least one a.


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