Coming from a boa breeding background and switching to ball pythons I found this was an interesting contrast. Ball python breeders have such an array of mutations at their disposal it is primarily a market of combinations. Boa breeders have far less to work with and worked with selectively breeding normals extensively during the 80’s and 90’s.
Did you know the “Pastel” trait in boas is selectively bred polygenic and defined by a certain amount of melanin reduction? In the boa world people were confused for years because “Pastels” were always the ones with the most color. They attributed the color with the “Pastel” label but the color was secondary, an affect of more effective selective breeding for it by first reducing melanin. There is such a huge variation among normals in boas, sometimes there are individuals so full of dark melanin that you can’t see how much color they truly have “underneath” it. This led to numerous pastel bloodlines that were worked into mutations like albino and hypo. It proved extremely valuable because it made a night and day difference not only in the original normals but also when combined with other mutations.
When I first came to the ball python world I went to Justin Kobylka’s house to get my first ball python. Everyone does that right? . One of the first things I asked Chaise was “Do people work with selectively breeding normals to optimize the “base” for stacking on other mutations”? The answer was no, not really. I assume the reason why is that there is less variation among normal ball pythons, and there are so many mutations to work with.
I think something many people in the ball python world fail to value is the selective breeding aspect. I recently posted some of my dreamsicles on facebook and I was criticized for them being from “big breeders” who, according to them, charge all kinds of extra markup because of their name. In actuality I paid very fair market prices but I think the fact that these big breeders have been breeding for so many generations, honing in on certain traits through selective breeding… holding back the best of the best… is an overlooked value. Those polygenics are worth something to me. I’ve experienced how powerful they are in the boa world.
Sorry Thomas, I dont think this directly addresses your question but thought I’d share my perspective regardless.