What is Gene Mutation in Animals?
A Gene Mutation is the deffinition for a change in the nucleotides in DNA of a specific animal. This change can effect a single nucleotide or a wide range of chromosones. Genetical Mutation can cause changes in the genetic code and it also leads to genetic variation; introducing an increase in the potential development of disease.
Gene Mutation in the Lionhead Rabbit:
The mane on the Lionhead is the result of genetic mutation and unlike most of mutations in rabbits, the mane is produced by a dominant gene.Therefore, its effect will be seen with the first generation to cross.
The letter M is used as the designation for the mane gene.
The "M" mane gene can occur in two possible combinations:
As MM (two dominant mane gene) or as Mm (one dominant mane gene). Due to the mane gene being dominant, the lionhead only needs one M for a physical mane to occur. If a Lionhead is influenced by the cross-bred of two rabbits with mm (no dominant mane gene), no mane will occur.
By an increase of cross breeding and therefore further genetic mutation, other factors can result in a thicker or longer mane. For example if one mates a Lionhead with an Angora Rabbit, this can result in a larger mane, due to the Angora consisting of a lengthy amount of fur.
In a natural environment, genetic mutations occur frequently due to a varitey of cross-breeds as the different rabbit types are not kept seperate (in comparison with rabbits in captivity). Therefore, a lot of rabbit breeds have a history of genetic mutation.
Lionhead Rabbit born with two dominant mane genes (MM) = a lot of mane visible
Lionhead Rabbit born with one dominant mane gene (Mm) = only very little mane visible
Lionhead Rabbit born with no dominant mane gene (mm) = no mane visible
Genetic Mutation in the Lionhead Rabbit with "Löffelohren":
- Shortened or missing tail
- A decrease in fertility or complications at birth, for does
- An increase in mortalitly rate
- High susceptibility to disease
- Pushed-in nose
- Poor position of the hind-legs and strong tilt of the pelvis
These difficulties can be decreases and limited through occasional crossbreading of rabbits with no Löffelohr gene and matings between Löffelohr (LO) x Löffelohr Gene-carriers (LOT).
This is due to the fact that by breeding LO x LO Rabbits, the small, rounded ears tend to continuously decrease in size. But by breeding LOT x LO, where the LOT looks like a "normal" rabbit, these negative impacts are minimized.