I have been doing a study. When you breed for specific traits in a species, you shrink the available genepool. This is the best example I can come up with:
In dogs, we have taken the timber wolf, and created HUNDREDS of subspecies. Each of these "purebloods" came from the same basic stock. In dog shows, you breed for the standard, and if the pup doesnt meet the standard, it is neutered and given away. This yet AGAIN shrinks the genepool for this specific breed. Each time this happens, genetic code is replicated for specific desirable traits, but attatched to these genes, are EXTREMELY undesirable traits, like hip displasia, seizures, skin conditions, cancer, even horrid psychological problems.
The bull terrier is a perfect example, some are born with OCD, and will literally chase their tails till they pass out or vomit, then do it again.
Some breeders believe that careful outcrossing of mixed blood will help alleviate this. The fact also is, that the VAST majority of purebred dogs can only look forward to 8 to 10 years of life! While a mutt can live beyond 20.
So it comes to this, in the quest for "show quality" bettas, are we weakening the species? Most breeders recommend breeding straight from show class pairings.
But are fin bitting and egg eating genetic defects strengthened by this? Is weakness to disease? Is the issue of "Bad daddies" from this specific breeding? Ive been breeding VTs and a few of the more "refined" bettas, DT and HM. The VTs have yet to give me issues with spawning. They are energetic, and wonderful at mouthing their nests.
But the HM and DT have thrown loops such as hesitance to spawn, egg eating, lax mouthing of fry, and sometimes severe aggression.
I will continue to expand on my study in genetics. Please tell me your thoughts on this.
My personal opinion is that genetic diversity should be desired. I am a genealogist and I can tell you there is absolutly no such thing as a pure blood anything. Every living thing that is bred for quality (even people) have genetic diversity. I personally don't believe there is such a thing as pure blood with fish, dogs, cats or people.This is what makes me laugh about racism in my genealogical work. People I work for get a shock if they find out they have a different race in their backround than white, black or whatever. My genetics are large in number and come from everywhere. I am native american, german, english, irish, scottish, african, spanish... My husband is peacock proud though after my research in his lineage that he is European through and through (caucasian). He has yet to realize that white isn't just one thing. He is just as genetically diverse as me being German, irish, scottish, and english.
There is also a human study going around that people who more racially diverse normally have a higher IQ and they say it is better for health reasons. It's just a study though. This is just a point of view from someone who studies human genetics in a unique way. All I can give is the human point of view :) My own that is.
And to add, humans are a good example of what happens if you mix genetics too much! I am not joking about this because I have a friend who had an incest family. Her daughters had to be tested for deformity because her parents were first cousins. Incest causes so many problems in humans so why wouldn't it in other animals? Even though I will stick up for show breeders and say they do add a quality fish of other genetics every so often. I know this is how it is done but I personally prefer that mixing blood doesn't happen.
In humans, royalty even did it a long time ago adding a person outside of the family every now and then. And I can say for a fact many families in the U.S. have this in their backround when the country first started getting Europeans. Many had children within their family to keep the area populated and raise their numbers because they were living in the middle of nowhere and there was no one but kin to marry.
I think with any animal in the wild, any undesirable traits would be culled out fairly early on, probably a lot of them before those animals get a chance to reach adulthood. Those surviving animals would also most likely have a drastically shorter lifespan than domesticated animals no matter how 'fit' an individual they were.
I don't think hybrid vigor is as great a thing as people make out to be. The worst dog we ever owned was a mutt who ended up with crippling arthritis, a fused spine and needing surgery on her cruciate. The main reason people seek out purebreds, is because there is consistency in type, and least some certainty in what the end product is going to be because you know what has come before it.
If you have a betta with a known pedigree for two or three generations before, you are going to have a much better idea of the genetics at play than if you just crossed two random bettas from Walmart. Out-crossing is important, but usually the most important goal for a breeder is consistency. You cannot fix a strain by continually out-crossing as you are then running the risk of introducing undesirable traits. This is also why a good breeder should cull any stock that does not meet their standard. That way you are at least eliminating some of the undesirable genetics from your line.
I have wild bettas. Some are wild-caught, and so they are about as close to your wolf analogy as you can get. And I still get some terrible parents who will swallow their eggs or eat their fry or refuse to spawn for months at a time. As to severe aggression, I could not keep one of my pairs together as the male would continually try and kill his partner. This was not an uncommon theme amongst this species as I later found out and as such I never got a spawn from them.
I wonder actually how large the genepool would be for wild bettas in some locations. If you have only a small population of fish and it is an isolated habitat that is unlikely to have new blood introduced, wouldn't that cause just as much of a genetic bottleneck? I believe it is cheetahs that have a very low genetic variation due to a bottleneck that occurred thousands of years ago, and yet they have survived in what is quite a harsh environment.
I personally think it is the selecting for bigger and bigger fins on bettas that causes the most issues. Bettas are only small bodied fins and some of the more excessively large fins I have seen seems an awful lot of weight and drag for them to constantly have to cope with. I worry that eventually these bettas are just going to be like some of the more deformed strains of goldfish where the only thing they can really do is eat, and lay on the bottom of their tank.
I think with any animal in the wild, any undesirable traits would be culled out fairly early on, probably a lot of them before those animals get a chance to reach adulthood.
I think you make a great point with this. In the wild many species eliminate anything that is sick or disabled. I am sad to mention that people do this too. More often a hundred years ago but I think anyone reading this would get my point.
My husband used to work with a man that believed that anyone (human) with a disability or disorder should be euthanized. Yes, human euthanasia... Until my husband made the point that the grandson the man loved dearly had a heart condition which would mean that he too would be euthanized. The man stopped talking really quickly. My husband is sensitive to that because he has a wife with mental issues, a schizophrenic uncle and a cousin with down syndrome. But back on topic. That was a good thought that is going to have me thinking for a while about natural selection versus human intervention for a little while.
Personally I believe over-population of people is caused from keeping the very very sick alive. Not to offend anyone or anything!!! We defeated survival of the fittest.
Anyways, for my fish, if they do not survive well fine. They don't. That is one less weak sick betta made to suffer a possible bad life, or an owner struggling to keep a weak fish alive. I do have three baby bettas who swim off, their back end sinks. But, I basically said "you wanna live, live! You don't, survival of the fittest". Seems cruel, but it defeats a partial purpose for me to cull. A small fry got attacked by a bigger one... Which showed again, survival of the fittest. I intervene now and then (fry who ate java moss had to have it removed) but leave it up to the species itself to figure things out.
I'm P'O'd thanks to the fact my halfmoon chews his fins. It's ridiculous. I think the fins are too long... I may breed my HMPK dumbo to a halfmoon female, and go for medium to short length of fins to make it better for the species, and for the owner too!
When I use the term "pureblood" I am talking about people that place pedigrees on their pets. Humans have expanded their gene pool by spreading like a plague and keeping alive those of our species that would otherwise be culled.
But in lesser species we cull out bad genes. Now, of course you dont want throw back genes if you are breeding to a point, but discouraging breeders from starting their own line from scratch seems counter intuitive, considering that by doing so you are shrinking the genepool between top breeders.
In everything, there is ALWAYS the exception tot he rule. A person from a "good family" turns out to be a timebomb for some disease. Or a Mutt will be more sickly than a schnouzer with a pedigree.
But I believe given time, the ratio of the bad outcropping in selectively bred species will far outstrip the good. People have already begun breeding for rosetails and a more competent feathertail, even though most of these fish may be too heavy.
If you have a line of show fish, and a spawn throws you some that ARENT quite standard, but have no major defects, would it be detrimental to continue that line? Just like bad throwbacks, there are good, so would there be NO good fish from this line? Or is it just that the lower probability of show fish is undesirable as compared to keeping the genetics open ended in this specific genepool?
Also, another thought, even though some fish may be from show quality, I've noticed that a lot of breeders dont give you the family history, at least you have to ask for it, at most, you have to find a breeder who will.
So it seems the only option you have is to buy a sibling pair to be assured that they BOTH have similar genetics if you find traits you like.
Junk DNA could be used as a treasure trove for new and wonderful colors or mutations. Create color patterns that eventually get their own class, or even new stable fin types.
I agree with you about the possibilty of breeding fins to heavy. I have a simple veil tail that gets pulled down by his fins because they have a large spread and are super long. I put him in a smaller tank because of it. He is old now and lays on the bottom more even though his color is bright and healthy. No heavy breathing. Just a lot of resting.
I have seen some breeders who do not give out lineage but I have seen some who will give pics of parents and sometimes grandparents but as you said, most you have to ask. It seems to me to be based on who the breeder is. Chibreneydragon, do you have a degree? I have been reading your posts here and on other threads and you have that intellectual air about you. It's a compliment. You seem very educated. I haven't had my thoughts "provoked" in some time... This was a good idea for discussion.
Yeah our puppy has great lines. Her grandmother was a national winner twice, her mother and siblings have done well, and everyone in her pedigree had passed their hips and elbows. She was doing really well in the show ring, until we took her in to get x-rayed at 12 months and they told us she had hip dysplasia with arthritic changes already happening. That's the trouble with genetics. There is no guarantee on what you are going to get. Even breeding the best to the best you can still end up with mediocre.
However, that doesn't mean that you should breed mediocre to mediocre and hope for the best. You have to remember that even if an individual is excellent, if those standing behind it are lacking, these same genes are still going to be passed on.
Selective breeding gives at least some idea as to the quality of offspring that is going to be produced from a particular crossing. If you have a line of fish that have been selectively bred for a few generations, you are going to have a basic idea as to what subsequent generations are going to turn out like. Sure there might be a few curveballs thrown in, but the goal of any breeder is generally consistency in quality and type.
However, if you were to throw a random fish into the mix, who knows what that fish (either good or bad) could be introducing into your line. Just because it doesn't display any faults of its own, doesn't mean that it isn't carrying the gene for something like poor fins or a bumpy topline that are then passed onto its offspring.
I think most people like to fix their line so they are getting a consistent type generation after generation and then outcross to maintain genetic diversity. I know there are issues with the quality and fertility of some killifish species in Australia because they are a difficult import and only very small populations of breeding fish are being maintained.