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Equine Color Genetics, 3rd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-8138-1364-6
296 pages
March 2009, Wiley-Blackwell
Equine Color Genetics, 3rd Edition (0813813646) cover image
Equine Color Genetics, Third Edition, presents the most recent advances in color genetics for breeders of horses, donkeys, and mules. The book provides valuable information that enables breeders to tailor their breeding programs to maximize desired color outcomes and minimize undesired color. The text bridges the gap between the scientific and lay communities without ignoring the intricate and complex issues involved in horse and donkey color genetics. This new edition presents more explicit and detailed explanations than were previously possible, including a more extensive Appaloosa section. The section on donkey colors includes the results of studies in the genetic control of color in this species, which will greatly assist donkey breeders as they tailor breeding programs to their own goals.
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Chapter 1. Introduction.

Basic Considerations of Horse Color Identification.

Basic Principles of Genetics.

Pigments in Horses.

Pigment Cell Function.

Chapter 2. Basic Dark Horse Colors: Bay, Chestnut, Black, and Brown.

Bay, Chestnut, and Black: Definition and Classification.

Bay, Chestnut, and Black: Genetic Control.

Dominant Black.

Two Subtypes of Bay: Wild Bay and Bay.

Seal Brown.

General Factors Modifying Bay, Chestnut, and Black.

Sorrel: Def.

Mane and Tail Color on Chestnut and Sorrel: Gen.

Bend Or Spots.


Chapter 3. Colors Built from the Basic Colors.

Linebacked Dun: Definition and Classification.

Linebacked Dun: Genetic Control.

Cream-related Colors: Definition and Classification.

Cream-related Colors: Genetic Control.

Champagne: Definition and Classification.

Champagne: Genetic Control.

Pearl: Definition, Classification, and Genetic Control.

Silver Dapple: Definition and Classification.

Silver Dapple: Genetic Control.

Mushroom: Definition, Classification, and Genetic Control.

Other Dilutions.

Compound Dilute Colors.


Eye Color.

Foal Color.

Summary of the Genetic Control of Horse Color.

Chapter 4. Patterns of White.

General Considerations.

Patterns with Individual White Hairs: Grey and Roan.

Patterns with Nonsymmetric Patches of White: White Mar….


Patterns of White with Symmetric White Patches: The Leop.

Leopard Complex: Definition and Classification.

Leopard Complex: Genetic Control.

Patterns of White Summary.

Chapter 5. Horse Color and Horse Breeding.

Chapter 6. Peculiarities of Hair Growth.

Chapter 7. Donkey Color.

Patterns of White.

Genetics of Donkey Color.

Summary of Donkey Color.

Hair Growth in Donkeys.

Chapter 8. Color Photographs.

Appendix 1: Color Names by Category.

Appendix 2: Loci, Alleles, and Effects.

Appendix 3: UsualGenotypes of Major Colors.

Appendix 4: Alleles Present in Representative Breeds in the USA.

Appendix 5: Expected Results of Crossing Various Colors.

Appendix 6: Unpublished Data Supporting Conclusions

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D. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD, is professor of pathology and genetics at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, and has worked in the field of animal color genetics for nearly three decades. His work with rare breed conservation, largely through the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, has provided ample opportunity to pursue the variations and details of color in several uncommon but important breeds.
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  • Details the genetic basis of five new colors.
  • Provides an explanation of genetic mechanisms that determine colors.
  • Explains each color through the interactions of genetic phenomena that build the colors step by step.
  • Examines patterns of white hair that may be superimposed on colors.
  • Includes donkey color as a separate section.
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“This update... has a considerable amount of new information.... the author has succeeded in producing the definitive work on coat color in horses. This excellent book is unique in its field for its breadth and depth. The color photographs alone make it worth its moderate price. The new edition is necessary for anyone interested in the updated material on the genetics of coat color. I recommend it to horse breeders, animal scientists, and geneticists who are interested in a fascinating and convoluted topic.” Doody’s Reviews, September 2009

"A fascinating book, filled with color photos of really beautiful horse and donkey colors, some I never knew existed, and many unusual and beautiful breeds. In addition, there are numerous charts of color breeding expectations and effects of colors on colors." - Veterinary Information Network

“The latest advances in color genetics for breeders of horses, donkeys and mules provides a blend of science and owner's guide and provides vets and equine breeders with many specifics including discussions of five new colors.” - Midwest Book Review, July 2009

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