What are the pros and cons between line breeding and breeding proven/unproven morphs? Does it take longer for one and not the other? Why are morphs so much more popular than line-bred traits? Just something I’ve had on my mind for a bit and would like to discuss!
Well, with the genetically repeatable reliability of morphs you can work toward a particular outcome and have a good idea what you are going to get. With line breeding it’s a crapshoot each time, but well worth it, many great things have come from line breeding/trait refinement. In Boas you can find many awesome pastels, the Monster Tail etc. I believe (don’t quote me on this as I’m unfamiliar with them mostly) that a large chunk of the leopard gecko traits are line bred stuff.
I believe you’re right about leos! Same with boas. Those, and hognose snakes seem to have the most line bred traits that I’ve found; which leads me to wonder why some species are line bred more than others. Why aren’t ball pythons line bred at all?
I’m sure some of it comes down to limited options genetic trait wise. Like Dumerils Boas you see some stunning colorful animals that have been worked with since you won’t find any inheritable traits around.
I’m assuming by morphs you mean mendelian inheritance genetics (recessive and codom). The morphs are more common in some species because they’re more often bred. The line-bred traits are more common in some species because the breeder is working towards a certain goal but they don’t count on a lucky mutation. Line breeding is useful because you can always improve it and slightly modify it. Morphs are useful (and more popular) because they’re quicker to breed with a positive outcome and you only need 1 parent to pass on the trait. Line breeding takes longer because you have to repeatedly breed the animals and their offspring and all of the following generations. It takes a while and there is often inbreeding and a lot more animals than the average breeder can accomodate for a single project.
I had imagined time had something to do with it. I’ve seen some gorgeous line-bred animals that I would never have guessed to be line-bred! (glances at tangerine leopard geckos)
There’s a lot of potential for mixing the two as well; like in hognose snakes with high red albinos vs high yellow albinos. So many possibilities! I wish I had time to do all of them lol
I’m a gecko person, and with leos & AFTs, ‘line bred’ (and all selectively bred) morphs take longer/are more difficult. Selective breeding is generally necessary to a certain extent to produce animals that aren’t drab.
Be aware that line breeding is just a method people use to selectively breed. (Analogous to how tortoises are chelonians, but not all chelonians are tortoises.) The term ‘line-breeding’ just specifies that a selectively bred morph has been achieved & maintained via inbreeding by the line’s originating breeder.
The simply inherited, single-locus morphs are easier to produce and depreciate in value much faster than excellent selectively bred morphs. However, they can produce animals that aren’t possible by selectively breeding alone, without a mutation. For example, the appearance of an Albino (in leos) cannot be achieved via selective breeding alone.
It really depends on what your goals are and what species you’re looking at. Line breeding requires extra space for holdbacks and a lot more time. I see basically nobody line breeding ball pythons short of a few lines of a couple morphs. If you want to see the most stunning example of an animal then line breeding is how you get to it. Short tail pythons are a perfect example of this, if you look at someone like Kara from TBC you can see the results of her normal Blood Pythons and Sumatran short-tails. They’re the best in the world and the demand for them is so high, but it took many years and a lot of effort to get there
There are not that many line-bred traits in hognose, most of them are Mendelian morphs.
The major con of line breeding is that it generally involves a high degree of inbreeding which can have serious negative effects. As an example - LemonFrost leopard geckos and the fact that they are hyper-prone to iridiomas
To get around these inbreeding effects you have to outcross your animals and the introduction of that new blood can act to dilute the trait you are trying to select for.
The con to morph breeding is that you do not have to try to get the visual appearance you are looking for and so people tend to push for mass production over quality. This is why we frequently see a broad range of appearance in our morphs from Pastels that are high-quality and hold on to their yellow well to Pastels that are low-quality, ugly as sin, and brown out pretty much straight out of the egg.
Lemon frost is a dominant mendelian inheritance trait. That wouldn’t be caused by inbreeding.
I have the paper somewhere, maybe I am recalling it incorrectly but from what I do recall LemonFrost is a complex line-bred polygenetic “morph” that has some inc-dom and, very probably, some recessive genes involved. It was very heavily line-bred to isolate the specific phenotype and that inbreeding had the unfortunate side-effect of the iridiomas
I said leos, boas and hognose snakes. I also wasn’t saying any of them have the most period; I was comparing the amount of line-bred traits they have to the amounts of other species.
How bad can the side effects be in reptiles? From what I’ve seen reptile inbreeding isn’t as bad as say, mammal inbreeding, hence why it can be done longer/more often. I thought that they really didn’t have any side effects at all due to how often I see it happen.
It’s a very low effect but it can be very harmful/deformities/premature deaths at about 3 generations in. But compared to mammals and high allele animals the effects aren’t too bad.
I do not have a ton of time to delve into this at the moment but if you check here:
I do some breakdowns on inbreeding with regards to reptiles.
Green line, extreme red, tiger are examples of line bred traits in westerns. There are quite a few line bred traits with them from my experiences.
They do have quite a few!
I have a green phase normal, an orange albino, a red albino, and an extreme red albino tiger.
There’s other line bred traits as well, such as purple line, lemon ghost, and twin spots.