DG Colors: yellow vs "gray" desert ghost

I’m interested to Desert ghost even more now with the new information of been polygenic. I remark some Desert ghosts become more “gray” when they get old …Why some are more yellow? and others has this beautiful “gray” effect, line of different DG?

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The consensus has shifted back to thinking that desert ghost is simple recessive with only one desert ghost gene that maters (DGc). It’s looking like DGa was maybe just a random marker sometimes linked with DGc.

HOWEVER, I still wonder what is up with DGb and why it has remained so prevalent in desert ghost project in spite of being on a different chromosome than DGc. If it’s found to be important (maybe it really doesn’t matter at all) it should probably get a name of its own rather than DGb as right now it’s looking like it’s technically not a desert ghost gene but just another gene found in desert ghost combos.

One theory is that it makes desert ghosts look better so has been selected for by breeders. Somewhere there is an RGI collection of desert ghost pictures along with genotypes (DGa/b/c) so hopefully someone can make a call if the desert ghosts (homozygous DGc) that are also either het or homozygous DGb are subjectively better/different looking.

I’m a little skeptical of the breeder selection theory unless DGb makes a huge difference (like if you often can’t even tell if a homozygous DGc is visual desert ghost unless it’s combined with DGb). I just don’t think ball python breeder’s are selective enough to only be breeding the best looking desert ghosts and selling the others as pets. I think almost all desert ghosts have been bred so breeder selection can’t really explain why so many have DGb, IMHO.

I would love it if the RGI free desert ghost testing data set also had a column to say if the desert ghost by gender was a proven breeder or not. I always assume morphs might have health or breeding problems until proven otherwise (I’ve been burned by several morphs). So my current wildly speculative and totally unsubstantiated theory is that MAYBE DGb helps desert ghosts breed and maybe it is selecting itself in desert ghost projects.

I strongly suspect that the DGa/b/c makeup has a say in color production and retention, as well as general cleanliness. I really wish that RGI had the full ID listed (including whether the parent was sent in as visual DG, enhancer, or a het) and that there was a way to sort to look at animals with, for instance, homozygous DGc and b as compared to animals without b.

Speaking from personal experience, BP breeders are absolutely not selective enough to only be breeding good quality DG. I personally helped RGI go through all of the DG animals for the free testing and there were a solid many (I’d say at least 25-30%) that were well below what I would consider a good expression of the gene. Dirty, losing color, losing sharpness, losing brightness. Good quality DG keeps all of those things no matter how old they are. In addition to that, breeders are absolutely not selling bad quality animals as pet only, they are 100% being milked for all they’re worth.

As for some of them becoming silver/gray, though, this is something that I’ve noticed for a while, and like I said, I’m really interested in the possibility that the a/b makeup might affect color and cleanliness.

@rlremington I certainly won’t say it’s impossible, but DG is my primarily project focus and as a result I network a lot with other breeders who work with it, and I’ve never heard of any issues. My mentor has been producing DG clutches for 5-6 years and I don’t believe he’s had more than one or two slugs in that time, and no issues with unhealthy babies. He has easily 10 visual breeding females in addition to around 20 het females and multiple visual males as well.

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Do you know the genotypes of the proven breeder DG males and females? Maybe the successful breeders already have DGb nailed down in their collections by accident.

I don’t off the top of my head. At least a few of them have been tested, but I’d have to ask him. If you don’t mind me asking, what morphs have you previously been burned by? In my personal experience and in all the experiences I’ve heard, DG breeds prolifically. I have not heard the same about rainbow or caramel, for instance.

Definitely not saying it’s impossible and I’m hesitant about genes as well (I don’t work with combinations that cause neurological or deformity issues) but I personally have seen nothing to suggest any difficulty in breeding DGs, and I have asked quite a few people.

I also haven’t heard of any dessert ghost problems. I’m just grasping at any theory that can explain why so many dessert ghosts are at least het DGb. Even without knowing which are proven breeders and/or gender what percentages of het or homozygous DGb are you seeing in the free desert ghost testing results?

The ball python morphs I bailed on due to issues are spider, caramel, super GHI (the fast shedding is not a huge deal but generally shoot for just one copy GHI), super cinnamon/black pastel. To be fair some of these such as super cinnamon were shared right away. But with caramel I started with a possible het male and produced visual babies including a female before I was aware I needed to sell her as a pet. There were plenty other morphs like desert that I just hadn’t yet invested in.

I currently have eggs in the incubator with two possible dads where I really hope the first male didn’t take from a project I bailed on two years in. My budget is small so usually mainly just out my time but I do feel some of these issues could have been shared sooner.