|White manes and tails|
|Written by Rachel|
What causes the mane and tail to become flaxen?
There are a couple genes that can cause the flaxen effect. The flaxen gene and the silver dapple gene are the most responsible for causing the flaxen look. However both act in different ways and combine with a variety of different genes to create the flaxen look. Someone with no knowledge of color genetics would not be able to tell the difference but once an understanding of the way these genes work is established then it is not all that complicated.
I will briefly touch on the silver dapple gene but my main focus will be the flaxen gene.
This gene, however, only effects horses with a black base coat (black, bays, buckskins, blue roans, bay roans). Horses with a red base coat may carry the silver dapple gene but they do not show the traits. This makes it possible for the silver dapple gene to be past to the next generation without anyone knowing it exists.
Horses showing the silver dapple gene are often mistaken for horses carrying the flaxen gene as the traits shown are very similar. One would need to understand the difference between the two genes to tell them apart. As I said before the silver dapple gene is a dominant gene however its effects can be masked by the grey gene. The grey gene causes the horse to lighten with age where as silver dapples often darken with age.
Many think that the flaxen gene is recessive while others believe that it cannot be a recessive claiming that two flaxen horses do not always produce a flaxen foal. This may be true but it is possible that there are other genes that may mask the expression of the gene . Until science determines the actual mode of action, the theory that the gene is recessive provides the best explanation as to the workings of this gene.
The genetic symbol for the flaxen gene is F. If the horse carries to dominant FF genes, then there is no expression of a flaxen trait. If the horse carries one recessive "f" and one dominant "F", there is still no expression of the flaxen gene. Only when the horse has two recessive "ff" canl the horse exhibit a flaxen mane and/or tail as long as the gene is not supressed.
What is also known about the flaxen gene is that it only affects horses with the base color of red. Horses with the base color of black like blacks, bays, buckskins etc. do not show flaxen gene traits. They may have two recessive copies of the flaxen gene but it is somehow surpressed. They can, however, carry the gene and pass it on to future generations.
It is also known that the flaxen gene does not always work equally on both the tail and mane. One may be flaxen while the other is not. The reasons for this are still unknown.
|< Prev||Next >|