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Ultramel Corn Snake

Rich Z
05-08-2018, 03:12 AM
From my 2007 SerpenCo.com website.

Ultramel Corn Snake

This is probably one of the more difficult genetic anomalies, to date, to have to describe to someone. Simply put, an Ultramel Corn is a cornsnake that is heterozygous for both Ultra(Hypo) and Amelanism. Gee, easy..... Doesn't sound too tough if you think about it real quick then go grab a sandwich and watch TV.

But what does this REALLY mean?

Well, in practical terms, if you have an Ultra(Hypo) and breed it to an Amelanistic, ordinarily you would think you would get a normal colored corn snake that is heterozygous for both Ultra(Hypo) and Amelanism. Up to the discovery of this particular combo, that was pretty much the rule of thumb to go by. Pretty easy to predict, and fairly easy to understand your future path for later projects you have in mind. But the wrinkle here is that although, yes, those offspring are heterozygous for those two recessive genetic traits, these don't look like normals at all. They more closely resemble some forms of Hypomelanism but with a few other quirks thrown in as well.

Often these will have reddish colored eyes, more of a deep ruby color, sometimes as we see in the Lavenders, and occasionally in some Ghosts. Of course, this brings the question to mind if these traits are all iterrelated with the ruby eyes being the common marker, but thus far no proof has surfaced that this is the case at all. Also the normally darker borders around the blotches often have a rather translucent look about them, which becomes less significant appearing as they age and mature. As full adults, you probably would have a real tough time telling them from regular Hypomelanistics, and quite likely there are many Ultramels floating around that have more colorful labels applied to them.

So, cool, we have an odd looking genetic line when two genes are heterozygous in the same animal. What can we do with that?

Well initially, it sounds exciting. And so far the combos of Opal, Butter, and Amel BloodRed have produced some interesting results. But when you try to think of the paths to take to get to some exotic combo result down the road, that's when things begin to falter a bit. Let's use some examples so you will see what I mean.

Here you have this nice new shiny male Ultramel and want to produce, say, Ultramel Charcoals. Logically, one would think this is a no brainer. Just breed the Ultramel to a Charcoal, grow up those babies, and voila, there you go. And certainly some have tried this, and been rather disappointed in the results that they got. So why the disappointing results? Here's the wrinkle. That Ultramel is het for both Ultra(Hypo) and Amelanism, yes, but only from looking at it in a manner that relates to how we used to look at single recessive and double recessive gene combos. We are used to thinking about any recessive trait having it's own unique locus on a chromosome. The homozygous or heterozygous nature of what resides on this unique locus gives us the expression (or allelic form) of how it will affect how the animal appears. So, in effect, we are used to a simple ON/OFF switch in relation to the genes we are working with. Generally speaking, say for Amelanism, this switch position can be either OFF (normal), or ON (Amelanistic).

The rules are different with Ultra(Hypo). Because in this instance, the locus in effect gets the OFF (normal) setting REPLACED by Ultra(Hypo) for the Amelanism locus. So we have the case here where both Ultr(Hypo) and Amelanism SHARE the same locus on the chromosome position.

Yeah? So what?

So, remember your pitiful results when you bred the Ultramel to the Charcoal? What really happened there? When you bred the Ultramel to the Charcoal, you probably thought you were producing babies that were normal colored heterozygous for Charcoal AND Ultra(Hypo) AND Amelanism, didn't you? In effect, you thought you were dealing with triple heterozygous babies. Well triple het odds are pretty long anyway, but the cards were stacked even further against you. Those babies you produced were het for Charcoal, but as for the Ultra(Hypo) and Amelanism, each of those babies have a 50 percent chance of being EITHER/OR. They can be heterozygous for Ultra(Hypo) OR heterozygous for Amelanism, but NOT both. So when you held back the babies to breed them, you were playing some real long shots. In effect, you had to have had luck enough to breed one offspring het for Charcoal AND Ultra(Hypo) to a mate that was het for Charcoal AND Amelanism, in order to get even the possibility of getting that Ultramel Charcoal you were looking for.

Not what you planned, eh?

What would have been the better route for your project? Well a couple of ways come to mind. Some easier than others. Since you already have the Ultramel, breeding it to a Blizzard (Amelanistic Charcoal) would have given you roughly 50 percent Ultramels het Charcoal and 50 percent Amelanistics het Charcoal. Now you've got more of a fighting chance, but still, even breeding those Ultramels het for Charcoal will have it's own issues. Breeding them together will NOT get you what you would think without some long thinking about it. Remember that those Ultramels are STILL going to be giving only Ultra(Hypo) OR Amelanism to the resulting next generation offspring.

So, is your brain throbbing yet? :)

Realistically, if you want to produce Ultramel Charcoals, probably the EASIEST and most understandable way to do it would be to first produce Ultra(Hypo) Charcoals, and breed them to Blizzards. Might sound a more roundabout way of getting there, but when you do it this way, you then get 100 percent Ultramel Charcoals as a result.

Easy, right?

Oh, by the way, anyone advertising animals heterozygous for Ultramel very likely doesn't have a clue about how the genetics of these animals work. Think about it. How could an animal possibly be het for Ultramel, when Ultramel itself is an animal het for both Ultra(Hypo) and Amelanism? Realistically, if someone sells you an animal they believe to be het for Ultramel, it is realistically an animal that is het for Ultra(Hypo) OR Amelanism, not both. And toss a coin to figure out which gene it is actually carrying, because the seller won't be able to tell you.

Whew!! That was fun............. Where's the Excedrin?