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Articles: Genetic Basics

Color Mutation Genetic Inheritance Basics -
Facts/Rules To Remember And Refer To:


In order to produce a recessive color, both parents must possess the gene for that color.

The most common recessive color in Quakers is Blue, which was actually the first color mutation to appear in the species. The Grey Green mutation in the US is also recessive.

The ideal recessive pairing, in my opinion, is to have one visual parent and one split. This insures that all non-visual offspring are positive splits, because they have one visual parent. Since both parents must carry the gene, the gender of the visual parent doesn’t matter.

This pairing will produce visual birds of both sexes, and all non-visual birds of both sexes will be POSITIVE/Guaranteed splits.

It is possible to produce visual offspring from 2 split parents, but the percentages are usually pretty low, and completely unpredictable… ALSO, the non-visual birds are only "possible" splits and the only way to determine that is by "test mating" which can be a very long and frustrating process!


In sex-linked inheritance, a visual or split male can pass the color to his daughters, no matter what color he is paired with. Lutino is the most common one to think of, although both Opaline and Pallid are sex-linked mutations as well.

If a visual male is paired with any other color, all of his daughters will be visual, and all of the sons will be splits.

If a split male is paired with any other color, approximately half of his daughters will be visual and half of the sons will be splits, but the sons need to be test mated in order to determine which is which. There is no visual way to tell!

If a visual female is paired with any other color, all of her sons will be splits.


In order to produce visual birds of both sexes, the ideal pairing to produce strong healthy birds is with a split male, and a visual female… I don’t like to pair two visual birds, although some people have no problem with the practice… This is simply the way I was taught, and it has worked well for me all through the years. My mentors consistently produced superior quality birds that were often on the "top bench" in the judged competitions, so I thought it unwise to attempt to re-invent the wheel, as the old saying goes! Pairing two visual red-eyed birds (as in Lutino and Albino) will often produce birds with vision problems even when young, and then later develop cataracts and go completely blind. I have observed this happening in some imported birds!

Co-dominant: In co-dominant inheritance here in the U.S. we have the Aqua, which was imported from Europe, and the Turquoise, which appeared in our own aviaries from the Grey Green bloodlines… In Europe, there is a co-dominant Grey Green mutation.

In co-dominant colors, when a visual Aqua or Turquoise is paired with a different blue series bird, about half of the offspring will be visual Aqua or Turquoise, or a combination/variation, such as Pallid or Opaline.

The gender of the visual parent does not matter in this pattern of inheritance, so that is a big advantage!

In co-dominant inheritance you don’t have split birds within a color series, such as Turquoise or Aqua in Blue series pairings… If they aren’t the color, they aren’t split.

However, a green bird from a co-dominant parent can be guaranteed split for Blue, but may in actuality "carry" the co-dominant gene, because the green "masks" the actual Blue Series Gene being carried.

Also, when two visual Aqua or Turquoise birds are paired, an occasional regular (aka "normal" blue offspring will appear) Even though these colors are co-dominant, they will still carry the recessive blue genes in their makeup.

If you need further clarification on any these things, or have additional questions, please feel free to contact us to discuss them.

I have tried to cover the basic information needed to understand genetic inheritance at the elementary level… I was taught the basics in this way, and the method has served me well over the years. Once the basic concepts are clearly understood, it is easy to calculate the possible expectations when the different mutations are combined… That’s when the fun really begins!!!

Welcome to the captivating world of genetic color mutations!!

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