Are you confused about Ball Python Genetics?

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The layman's version of Ball Python Genetics...

 

When someone refers to a Ball Python as normal it means that the snake looks exactly as they started out in the wild (wild type).  Over the years various different looking types were found and were called (base morphs) due to their colours and pattersn being different to that of the wild types.  The base morphs found their way into capivity and were used to create new morphs referred to as Designer Morphs.

 

Examples of Base Morphs would be Albinos, Pastels, Axanthic, Spider.  Only a few of these base morphs are still seen in the wild compared to the thousands of normals.  Chances of base morphs procreating in the wild are very slim and that is why we do not see Designer Morphs in the wild.

 

Examples of Designer Morphs would be breeding different Base Morphs to each other for example:

 

(Base Morph) Pastel x (Base Morph) Spider = (Designer Morph) Bumble Bee.

 

Before we start explaing genetics lets look at the terminology.  It is important if you want to breed with Ball Pythons that you are familiar with these terms.

 

  • Gene - A molecular unit of DNA responsible for the physical and inheritable characteristics of an animal.
  • Locus - The location of a gene on the DNA strand.
  • Allele - One member of a pair of genes location / Locus.
  • Heterozygous (Het) - This term is usually reserved for recessive traits that do not show up even though one gene is present.  The animal still look normal in appearance but carry the gene of a morph.  Meaning that non of the gene pairs matched on any of the locations on the DNA strand.
  • Homozygous (Homo) - When a pair of mutated genes match at any given location on the DNA strand.
  • Recessive - A few examples of recessive genes are Albino, Clown, Axanthic, Genetic Stripe, Ghost, Piebald.  When you breed a Ball Python with a recessive gene for example Clown to a Normal, the Clown will pass a Clown gene to the one side of the DNA strand of each baby.  The Normal parent will pass a normal gene to the opposite side of the DNA strand, resulting in unmatched Alleles.  Therefore the babies will all be normal looking.  In order to see a visible change there must be matched pairs of mutated alleles in the same locus.

 

Recessive

 

The following example can be applied to all recessivemorphs.  

 

 

Co-Dominant

 

This is a visible mutation that appears when a single gene at an allele is different than normal.  When this gene is matched it will bring out the super form and will look different than that of the single gene.  Co-doms will produce super forms if the same pairs are matched.

 

Homozygous - Super Pastel - means a pair of identical genes.  These may be two identical normal genes or two identical mutant genes.

 

Heterozygous - Pastel (Jungle) - means a pair of non identical alleles.  Alleles are different versions of the same gene.

 

The usual case is a normal allele paired with a changed (mutant) allele.  An individual that is heterozygous for a co-dominant mutant gene does not look normal and does not look like an individual that is homozygous for the co-dominant mutant gene.

 

Image examples are based on the law of averages and the actual results may vary.  Co-dominant morphs include Pastel, Woma, Yellow Belly, Mojave, Butter, Cimmamon, Fire, Spotnose to name a few.

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Dominant

 

This is a visible mutation and appears when a single allele at a locus is different than the normal.  A matched pair of the mutated alleles will appear the same as the single.  Dominants will carry the super form gene but it will not look different than the original dominant.

 

In dominant morphs the "Super" version or Homozygous snake is no different in appearance from the Heterozygous snake.  The only way to determine the Homozygous individual is to breed and compare the consistancy in the outcome.

 

  • Homozygous - Super Spider (will look like any other spider)
  • Heterozygous - Spider
  • Homozygtous - Means a pair of identical genes.  These may be two identical normal genes or two identical mutant genes.
  • Heterozygous - Means a pair of non-identical alleles.  Alleles are different versions of the same gene.  The usual case is a normal allele paired with a changed (mutant) allele.  An individual that is heterozygous for a dominant mutant gene look like an individual that is homozygous for the dominant mutant gene.
  • Dominant - Examples of dominant morphs are spider and pinstripe.
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Morphs and combos that have known issues associated with them

 

The "Wobble" for example, is a condition known to appear in Spider, Woma, Hidden Gene Woma, Champagne,Super Sable, and Power ball.  It also shows in Jaguar Carpet Pythons.  The first "wobblers" introduced to us was the Spider gene.  They have neurological issues, which is best described as they essentially lose their equilibrium, moving in directions they normally wouldn't move in.  You may not even notice it in some as it could be as subtle as them just tilting their head once in a while.  It can be as bad as them corkscrewing their body in the air almost uncontrollably.  It could only happen during feeding or other potentially exiting situations for the snake or it could just be a constant occurrence.  They could have no signs as a baby and show it as an adult or have it as a baby and grow out of it.

 

We have them in our collection and other than a small wobble here and there and sometimes missing the food on the first strike they have no issues and all grow up healthy and are good breeders.  Do some research and watch online videos to put your mind at ease.  For a complete list of all the morphs and combinations that have know issues associated with them, we are handing you over to an expert on the matter...

Pied Markings true or fals?

 

A piebald or pied animal has a pattern or pigmented spots on an un-pigmented (white) background of scales.  The piebald is a recessive morph and therefore when bred to a normal they will produce normal looking babies that are 100% hetro for piebald. Over the years breeders have noticed that babies that are hetro for piebald have very specific markings on their bellies towards their tail. 

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There are still many opinions about this and all I can say that every time we used pied in the breeding projects hetro offspring all had signs of the pied markings on their belly.  Many breeders say that this does not happen all the time and in some cases none of the offspring had the markers so it is not 100% conclusive, some have and some don't.  Bottom line the only marker for you should be the guarantee of a reputable breeder.

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Normal (Wild Type)

Het's can't be seen and look like a Normal

Clown - Recessive Morph