"Strong Genes" Definition and perception?

I hope this isn’t a stupid thing to post, I’m very curious but not great at articulation. I am snake focused for context.

So it seems to me this is a laymen’s term to describe or imply genetic diversity in the lineage of a reptile (or other creature), which helps indicate genetic health.

Here’s a few examples and how I perceived the meaning:

Someone says their line of a gene or line-beed trait has “strong lineage” this should mean that their lineage has been outcrossed more frequently with other peak health animals, implying it’s a healthier animal from the line than it would be if it was coming from a lineage that has been bred with it’s self for numerous generations with no out crossing. No out-crossing, to my understanding of genetics and mutations, should eventually result in a weaker/more illness prone animal as the over inbreeding causes higher chances of birth defects, genetic illnesses, weaker immune systems, etc.

Saying you want to strengthen your line using x unrelated individual reptile, means you plan to outcross with the intention to increase the genetic diversity and reduce the risk of health or development issues in your individuals. I’ve noticed this being very important in blue tongueds due to the limited population in the US, originating from any stock we had before the import/export halt.

I think there’s another term I am trying to think of, but I can’t remember it for the life of me.

What is your perception of the phrase? Do you have another phrase or term for this? Do you hear it often or rarely?

I don’t want to sound ignorant if I say “I want to strengthen my line of {insert snake species here} with {trait}, so I will be focusing on out-crossing more often”… Which I do plan to do. Have had some ppl look at me funny or tell me I was wasting time when I told them I am trying to ensure my starting breeders for x snake are as unrelated as possible :sweat_smile:.


It really depends on the person saying it.

You are absolutely correct in it being used that way.
The other way is to mean in saying something like “Strong male for your next project” or whatever is in regards to the number of genes the animal has. There is no bearing on how outcrossed or healthy that animal is, just the use in breeding. For example it may carry multiple recessives and an allelic gene combo.
An exellent breeder will mean that both ways,

I think the other term you were thinking of may be “Expression” in regards to how stronly a gene presents itself. In a line bred trait, that may mean less outcrossing of the lines in order to produce a better offspring from parents already carrying the gene. Some genes like pastel or yellowbelly can vary from looking almost like a normal to being very obvious in what they are and enhancing the colors by a large amount. In that case, they can still be outcrossed because a co-dom like that isn’t as dependent on line breeding to show that expression.

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Also… I don’t think your goal is a bad one!
I actually was trying to plan out my next breeding season to outcross my two projects into each other a bit earlier to avoid linebreeding my original project too much.

There sadly are a lot of people who don’t take these matters into account. Linebreeding in reptiles is definetly not as detrimental as it is in mammals, but it is still something you want to avoid too much of. But there’s breeders looking to make a quick turnaround who will linebreed to get the result they want without trying to keep the genetic diversity open.

Ball pythons are still quite diverse genetically as long as you’re avoiding newer genes or purchasing too much from the same breeder’s line for a project. But especially with some of the more reactive genes (for example I’m working with super cinny and blk pastels) outcrossing is definitely still where you want to go to avoid things like the kinking or facial issues.

Nah expression isn’t it, I know that one. I feel like it was a variant or alternative phrase for “strong genes” but it’s completely gone/I wasn’t able to remember it.

Thankfully there seems to (typically) be plenty BP to provide genetic diversity (including new imports if you are experienced enough to care for them). For some lines of colubrids on the other hand, they are at the point of NEEDing out-crossing.

Also thank you! I am hoping it’s not a mistep as far as retaining the gene expression I am after for Ultramel (BP), since one pair in mind is 2 different lines of ultra (common and burgundy line). I am hoping there will be some babies with the father’s expression that I can hold back, while also being good feeders and robust due to parents being further apart (all assuming there is nothing secretly genetically amiss in either of them).

This means I’ll have to hold some back, for longer than most want to wait, in order to ensure the hold backs have the same contrast/saturation.

For my colubrids, it’s less complicated as I am just hoping hets prove out and my 1 ready pair breeds successfully.

Potentially a little off topic but about what you mentioned “unfortunately a lot of ppl don’t take these matters )genetic diversity, health, etc) into account”

Learned this the hard way. I was lied to about one of the female colubrids I got in the beginning. She was claimed to be healthy, but when I took her in she had a URI and layers of stuck shed in her nostrils (had that flushed out at the vet after curing her URI).

I can’t trust the quality of care she’s had for the first 3 years of her life because no one knows who had her or what conditions she was kept in (other than being severely overfed). I have her sitting around as a pet instead of a breeder, since it’s uncertain if she has any hidden genetic issues, or internal injuries from when she was VERY obese (evidence given by her “hips” and huge size for only being 4-5yrs old, as well as history I have from previous owners who took her in 2 years ago with the intentions of breeding her). Of course the previous ppl still say I could breed her and show no remorse for encouraging me to buy her (in turn wasting time and money I could’ve spent on a and healthy female from a better breeder). Even inexperienced, am 95% certain I shouldn’t breed her even if she’s in much better condition and passed her exam at the vet for the first time.

It was an unfortunate wakeup call to “not everyone is worried about health and quality over simply getting babies to sell, and they’ll sell the same animal they’ve been struggling with as if it’s healthy and perfev addition to your collection especially if you are new”. I went in for a healthy animal and to help someone out by buying them when I did (a few weeks before Xmas), only to be screwed over in terms of what I expected vs what I got and all the vet bills after with no remorse or shame from the seller who now partially agrees she “probably” shouldn’t be bred.

I got a healthy animal from them before, so I trusted them and went ahead with it. My fault lmao.

P.s. I’m newish to forums in general (and am on mobile) so I’ll get a hang of quoting and such eventually. :sweat_smile: Apologies