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Rich Z's Blatherings Since Connie and I have retired the SerpenCo business, topics here will focus on topics of a more personal and general nature.

What do you think?
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Old 07-16-2002, 02:23 AM   #11
Rich Z
I mean, most captive-bred cornsnakes have been bred for enough generations that most of them don't have any undiscovered traits left in their genes...
Wanna bet? I am willing to take on a sizeable wager on this one

Obviously the inferrence here is to gather wild caught stock in order to get the possibility of new genes to pop up. Since that is where the new genes obviously have to come from, by your statement.

You need to understand what it would take to tackle something like this. The fact that I discovered two previously undiscovered genes was pure luck. I certainly was not out trying to purposely do that. So let's say I get a wild caught animal hoping it is carrying a hidden gene in it. Let's assume it is a male. I breed this male to three females. Probably one normal colored, one Hypo and one Amelanistic. I probably should keep at least 3.3 from each clutch, so instantly I have added 18 new animals to take care of on a long shot. I grow those babies up and breed them together, hoping that if there is a gene in there somewhere that 50 percent of them are het for, and that I breed the correct ones together to match up the gene to make it homozygous in the next generation. Another long shot, even if there is a gene in that blood line.

What are the chances that I will be successful? After supporting those 18 animals for 3 years (I take three years to have my animals reach maturity before I breed them), I am not only taking a long shot on that original animal having a hidden gene, but I am also taking a gamble that at least one female from each clutch that MIGHT have that hidden gene will be bred by a male that might also be carrying the gene.

This is more productive than working on something like producing Hypomelanistic Lavender Motleys or Amber Stripes, or Butter Opal Motleys? I don't think so. Chances are that there is JUST as much chance that there are latent genes floating around in my current stock that just need to have the right combination of pairings with a big helping of luck to get them to show up. And even if they don't, those combinations listed above will certainly be worth the time and effort I would expend. Not to mention that each new cultivar presents the opportunity to do selective breeding within that grouping to enhance something subtle to make it stand out, and perhaps produce something far and above what the cultivar originally started out looking like. Look to the Candy Canes and Fluorescent Oranges in relation to the regular Amelanistic Corn to see what I mean. There is just about no end to the pairing of genes we already have along with selectively breeding those results to come up with something divergently different looking to warrant a new name applied to them. This is happening every single year right now.

Sorry, but no, I do not believe this is a choice between being innovative and profitable at all. It's being sensible about how best to spend my time and efforts to come up with something interesting enough to keep me from getting bored with this stuff. This is more like the difference between a sure bet and a wild goose chase, in my opinion.

If anyone thinks that grabbing a corn snake out of the wild and having any sort of guarantee that it is going to be carrying a new gene to be discovered, all I can say is LOTS OF LUCK to you. I would suggest that you have a ready market for all of those plain vanilla normal corns you are going to be producing year after year. Yes, you MAY get lucky, but don't bet the farm on that happening for you.

Please don't mistake my incredible luck for being something that is easy and duplicatible by anyone whom makes even a modest effort. Luck is something you cannot cultivate. Either you have it or you don't, and it isn't consistent even when you do have it. Certainly it is nothing to depend on to pull yourself out of just plain poor planning.

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