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":

Another form of genetic mutation can be viewed in the Lionhead Rabbit with "Löffelohren" (spoon-ear gene).
This mutation has the ability to be viewed in all kinds of rabbit breeds and is displayed as a rabbit with round, spoon-like ears.
Löffelohr Rabbits have been around for an unknown length of time and have generally been present as Hermelin-Rabbit offspring. However, these rabbits were unintentional and sorted out as "genetical garbage".  Now there are a variety of breeders who cross-breed the Löffelohr Rabbit, trying to limit the vast amount of side-effects, which may occur. 
Löffelohr is a recessive gene, therefore it is only possible to occur through pure-blood mating. The mutation effects the X chromosone, resulting into female Löffelohr if both X chromosones are affected. If the gene is contained in only one X chromosone, the doe would be a "Löffelohr Träger" (a carrier of the gene) and are therefore able to pass the gene onto its offspring.
As bucks only have one X chromosone, a male Löffelohr will therefore occur if this X chromosone is affected. If this is not the case, the gene is not dominant in the rabbit and therefore, it would not be able to pass it on to its offspring. 
This form of mutation does have a variety of side-effects particularilly on the rabbits health. These include:
  •  Shortened or missing tail
  • A decrease in fertility or complications at birth, for does
  • An increase in mortalitly rate 
  • Malocclusions
  • 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. 


Mm Lionhead Rabbit born wit the recessive Löffelohr gene

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