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Old 11-25-2021, 08:41 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2021
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Default Hamster genetics

Hi all, I'm new to hamster hideout forum. I'm from Mexico and I currently own a syrian hamster living in a DIY cage. I would like to breed hamsters so I am learning about the genetics behind breeding. This will be in the future but I like to read about genetics and diseases of hamsters after work.

I've decided I wanted to breed black tortoiseshells, dove, cream, and yellow blacks. There is a problem though because cream and yellow do not mix well. From my research, cream will cover up a yellow hamster and that hamster will not look yellow and will look cream. Is this accurate/am I getting this correct? In addition, will cream cover/mask yellow if cream is a recessive gene in only ONE of the parents? For instance if there was a dove male who carried cream, black, cinnamon and he was bred with a black tort who carries cinnamon, black, dove: will their offspring that are yellow and tortoiseshells ALL be affected because of that cream gene, or only some? If there is a yellow is masked by cream, how will this affect the offspring? Will the offspring continued to be masked by cream?

Similarly, if a golden umbrous male (who carries cream) was bred with a black tortoiseshell (who does not carry umbrous or cream or mink or sable) would their pups all be masked by the cream and the umbrous from the father? How would I be able to tell if there are any yellow or tortoiseshells? Or is that impossible to do so.

I do want to avoid umbrous, sable, mink and will avoid cream if I absolutely must.
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Old 11-26-2021, 02:21 AM   #2
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Location: Yorkshire, UK but my heart lies in Scotland!
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Default Re: Hamster genetics

Cream is a recessive gene so to be cream a hamster needs two recessive genes (ee)
If it only has one cream gene it will not show as cream (e+) so it is a carrier. Being a carrier can affect the colour of the hamster sometime eg a golden carrying cream is often more wishwashy in colour (but not always)
You are correct that cream 'covers over ' other colours. This is called an epistatic gene. So yes it covers over other colours BUT only if there are two cream genes present. The hamster must have two to be cream otherwise it is a carrier. With yellow you will see a sometimes a ghosting of the yellow on a cream hamster (ghost yellow)
I really would avoid mixing yellow and cream if at all possible as it wastes the cream lines. The yellow hamster and yellow mixes have a very particular temperament (at least it does in the UK) and can be more feisty and bold than other colours. This is not ideal for a pet market.
I think you are a bit confused on Dove. Dove is a mixture of black and cinnamon (aapp). Both are recessive genes so a Dove has two black and two cinnamon genes. You can't carry Dove. Well you can if you consider carrying 1 black and 1 cinnamon as dove LOL.
Yellow (To -) male and ToTo female is a sex linked gene. It's carried on the X chrosmosome so to be a Yellow a male only needs one yellow gene To as he only has one X. (male =XY) A Yellow female needs two (ToTo) as she is XX. However if a female has one yellow gene the Yellow is still expressed as a Tortoiseshell hamster.
Tort females mated to a straight coloured male will produce Males - half Yellow and half non Yellow and females Half tort and half non tort.
It's quite a complicated gene to work with as often the torts have very, very little yellow showing and you have the interactions of the other genes.
Umbrous is dominant. If you do use any hamster with Umbrous you will get Umbrous pups. Umbrous can affect all colours and you can get hamsters who are single Umbrous or double Umbrous and you can't tell the difference. A double Umbrous parent (UU) would have all umbrous pups and a single umbrous (Uu) would have half umbrous. You only really want Umbrous if you are looking to get Sables or Minks. Sable is an Umbrous black eyed cream (eeUu or eeUU) and Mink is an umbrous red eyed cream (eeppUu or eeppUU)
My advice would be to start simple as the colours and patterns you are looking at are quite complex mixtures
Keep the cream line separate. Get your pure yellows then bring in the black for the black torts.
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Old 11-26-2021, 07:59 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2021
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Default Re: Hamster genetics

Soufflé has put an incredible answer to your colour question, and summed it up very well all of the colours which has taught me something today!

I just wanted to add I know you probably know this as you’ve been doing your research, but if you want to breed for profit, pretty much all I’ve ever heard is how people don’t make money by breeding. From what you’ve said I’m super happy you’re considering diseases, I’m not sure for Mexico but to be classed as an ethical breeder here in the uk you need to have a certain number of successful offspring free of hereditary diseases before gaining the title of an ethical breeder. So it can be a lot of work.

This also makes it important to source healthy hamsters to begin with.

Also you have to always check who you’re selling too as well. If I had the knowledge and equipment myself I’d love to do it for the sheer enjoyment of loving hamsters and knowing that you can contribute to a healthy bloodline. Just make sure you know what it entails to be a breeder before starting.
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cream, yellow, hamster, black, umbrous

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