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Gene Mc: Mackerel

 
Eurocatfancy
Genetic terms in cats
Genome of the cat
Dominance of genes
Cat Breeding techniques
Crossing Table 1
Crossing Table 2
Crossing Table 3
Gene A: Agouti
Gene B: Black
Gene C: Full colour
Gene D: Diluted
Gene Dm: Dilute modifier
Gene Fd: Folded ears
Gene I: Inhibitor
Gene L: Shorthair
Gene Mc: Mackerel
Gene O: Orange
Gene S: Piebald spotting
Gene W: White
Gene XY: Sex
Quality Points for Cats

 

Gene Mc: Mackerel

 

All cats have genes for a tabby pattern.

Look at new born black or chocolate kittens, they show very often the tabby pattern they carry.
A cat must carry at least one agouti gene A to show its pattern, with the exception of the red/cream cats which can show the tabby pattern without carrying agouti.

MACKEREL Gen Mc (Tigre)

mackerel tabby (tigré) Gene Mc is dominant to gene mc. Your cat must have either McMc or Mcmc that its coat shows a mackerel pattern.

Possible gene combinations

McMc homozygous mackerel
Mcmc heterozygous mackerel
mcmc homozygous blotched tabby
Note that cats with a blotched pattern must be always homozygous for mc.

BLOTCHED Gene mc

classic tabby (blotched) Gene mc is recessive to gene Mc.
That means, a cat must carry gene mc twice (mcmc) to show the blotched pattern.
If you are interested to know which tabby colours are possible then click here.
Have a look also on the Crossing table for Tabby.

 

And where is the gene for Spotted ?

spotted tabby

It seems, there is no special gene for Spotted existent. One hypothesis says that the Spotting is derived from the mackerel pattern. That seems to be true if you look on the spotted cats commonly known, like the European Spotted, British Spotted or Oriental Spotted, and it seems to be true when you think about the Egyptian Mau.
But when you look at the Ocicat the spots are arranged as there would be the blotched pattern underlying . Even in the standard of the Ocicat you will find the description that the spots should be arranged as they would surround a bull eye. It is also known that still from the Ocicats one can get blotched tabby Ocicats. The coat between the spotting pattern is ticked. Also the spots themselves are ticked. On this breed you can see the presence of gene Ta and mc at the same time, as the Ocicat is ticked and at the same time shows spots.
When you look at the Bengals, you will find the same phenomenon, there are existing spotted Bengals and so called Marble Bengals (classic tabby blotched). And yet the spots on the Bengal look different than the spots in other breeds, they look like rosettes.
There is also another theory that a special group of genes (not a single gene, but a group) influences the way how the spots are arranged, more following a mackerel pattern or more following a blotched pattern.

How can this theoretical knowledge be used for the breeding practice ?

You want to breed Red Tabbies.

There you should try to answer the following questions first:

  • Which cats do I need ?
    At least one of the parents must be a red (or red tabby with or without agouti) cat.
  • If you have a red or red tabby cat, is it with Agouti or without Agouti ?
    You should study the pedigree of your cat very carefully, if there are any black tabbies (which carry at least one agouti gene) behind your cat. That would increase the chances that you have a red tabby cat with agouti.

In the following examples it is assumed that none of the following cats carries chocolate. Of course the examples will also work with chocolate, you will only need more columns and rows in the tables, if the cats are heterzygous for chocolate, as you will have more combinations.

Example 1

You have a red female and you are searching for a male which would fit to get red tabbies. You do not know whether your red female carries agouti or not.
You can do a test mating with a black male. If your red (tabby) female gets tortie tabby kittens you are lucky to know, that your female carries at least one agouti gene.

Case 1:
Your female has the following combinations: aa BB D- OO mcmc

The black male has the following combinations: aa BB D- oY mcmc
Remember the sex linkage of gene O.

  male
aBDomc aB-omc aBDYmc aB-Ymc
female aBDOmc aaBBDDOomcmc
black tortie female
aaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie female
aaBBDDOYmcmc
red or red tabby male
aaBBD-OYmcmc
red or red tabby male
aB-Omc aaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie female
aaBB--Oomcmc
black or blue tortie female
aaBBD-OYmcmc
red or red tabby male
aaBB--OYmcmc
red or cream, or red or cream tabby male

That was the worst case, because you still do not know if your female carries agouti or not. The little red/cream boys in this litter do not tell you anything more about your female, as they might be red/cream self or red/cream tabby with or without agouti.
Now you should mate the female with a black tabby male. In this litter at least you will get tortie tabby girls which carry at least one agouti gene and you should continue with your breeding program with one of the tortie tabby girls to come to red tabbies with agouti.

Case 2:
Your female has the following combinations: Aa BB D- OO mcmc

The black male is still the same and had the following combinations: aa BB D- oY mcmc
Remember the sex linkage of gene O.
  male
aBDomc aB-omc aBDYmc aB-Ymc
female ABDOmc AaBBDDOomcmc
black tortie tabby female
AaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie tabby female
AaBBDDOYmcmc
red tabby male
AaBBD-OYmcmc
red tabby male
AB-Omc AaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie tabby female
AaBB--Oomcmc
black or blue tortie tabby female
AaBBD-OYmcmc
red tabby male
AaBB--OYmcmc
red or cream tabby male
aBDOmc aaBBDDOomcmc
black tortie female
aaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie female
aaBBDDOYmcmc
red or red tabby male
aaBBD-OYmcmc
red or red tabby male
aB-Omc aaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie female
aaBB--Oomcmc
black or blue tortie female
aaBBD-OYmcmc
red or red tabby male
aaBB--OYmcmc
red or cream, or red or cream tabby male

Here you are more lucky, as you get tortie tabby girls in this litter. Therefore you know that your female carries at least one agouti gene.
Now you can continue your breeding program in several ways:

  1. You can mate your female with a black tabby male. In this 2nd litter you will get red tabby males with agouti and without agouti with the ratio 3:1. You can keep now one red tabby boy from that litter to back cross him to his mother. The chance is quite high that you kept a red tabby son with agouti and you will get now in this 3rd litter red tabby females with agouti.
  2. You can keep a tortie tabby girl from your 1st litter (see above our Case 2) and mate this daughter with a black tabby male. The ratio of the red tabby boys you will get from this 2nd litter is the same 3:1, three parts red tabby boys with agouti, one part red tabby boys without agouti. You can keep here also a red tabby boy to use him to back cross him with his mother or to mate him with his grandmother - your red tabby female.
  3. You keep a tortie tabby girl from the 1st litter to use her in a later mating. You mate your female also with a black tabby male (like in alternative 1) and keep a red tabby boy out of this 2nd litter. This red tabby boy may be mated with his half sister, the tortie tabby girl from the 1st litter, or he is crossed back with his mother.
  4. You can mate your female, which turned out to carry at least one agouti gene, with a red tabby male. But keep in mind, that you might face the same difficulties as with your female, that you do not know for sure, if the red tabby male carries agouti or not. You will get from this litter of course also red tabbies of both sexes, males and females.
    • If the red tabby male does not carry agouti, only half of the red tabby boys and only half of the red tabby girls will carry agouti.
    • If the red tabby male carries agouti, already three parts of the red tabby boys as well as of the red tabby girls will carry agouti.

These alternatives should demonstrate, how you can increase the level of agouti, that you have more and more red tabby cats with agouti. It depends on you, which alternative you want to go:

  • In the 1st alternative you have to keep one cat and do inbreeding between mother and son.

  • In the 2nd alternative you have to keep two cats, but can use the boy from the 3rd litter twice, once to make an inbreeding between grandmother and grandson, second to make also an inbreeding between mother and son.

  • In the 3rd alternative you also keep two cats and can use the boy from the 3rd litter here also twice, once to make an inbreeding with his half sister (the black tortie tabby girl from the 1st litter) and second to make an inbreeding between mother and son.

  • In the 4th alternative you might reach your goal quicker, if the red tabby male you have chosen carries agouti.

How to test-mate a red tabby male to find out, if this male carries agouti or not, leads us to our second example.

Example 2
You have a red tabby male, but do not know if he carries agouti or not.
We will mate him with a black female.

Case 1:

Your male has the following combinations: aa BB D- OY mcmc

The black female has the following combinations: aa BB D- oo mcmc

  male
aBDOmc aBDYmc aB-Omc aB-Ymc
female aBDomc aaBBDDOomcmc
black tortie female
aaBBDDoYmcmc
black male
aaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie female
aaBBD-oYmcmc
black male
aB-omc aaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie female
aaBBD-oYmcmc
black male
aaBB--Oomcmc
black or blue tortie female
aaBB--oYmcmc
black or blue male

This was the worst case, but it shows immediately, that your male does not carry agouti and you rather should use him for breeding red cats instead of red tabby cats.

Case 2:
Your male has the following combinations: Aa BB D- OY mcmc
The black female is still the same and has the following combinations: aa BB D- oo mcmc
  male
ABDOmc ABDYmc AB-Omc AB-Ymc aBDOmc aBDYmc aB-Omc aB-Ymc
female aBDomc AaBBDDOomcmc
black tortie tabby female
AaBBDDOomcmc
black tortie tabby female
AaBBDDoYmcmc
black tabby male
AaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie tabby female
aaBBD-oYmcmc
black male
aaBBDDoYmcmc
black male
aaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie female
aaBBD-oYmcmc
black male
aB-omc AaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie tabby female
AaBBD-oYmcmc
black tabby male
AaBB--Oomcmc
black or blue tortie tabby female
AaBB--oYmcmc
black or blue tabby male
aaBBD-Oomcmc
black tortie female
aaBBD-oYmcmc
black male
aaBB--Oomcmc
black or blue tortie female
aaBB--oYmcmc
black or blue male

In that case you know for sure, that your red tabby male must carry at least one agouti gene, because you get black/blue tabby males and black/blue tortie tabby females in the litter.
To continue here with the breeding program to breed red tabby cats, is easier than in Example 1, because less cats are involved. Now you can keep a black/blue tortie tabby girl and back cross her with her father. You will get red tabby cats (males and females) with agouti and without agouti in the ratio 3:1.

 
[A] [B] [C] [cb & cs] [D] [Dm] [Fd] [I] [L] [Mc] [O] [S] [W] [XY]

 
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