Topic: eye color
Eye color is dependent on a couple of genetic factors. Above we see Liesel, the doe in Liebchen's litter that is staying at Countrywool for breeding evaluation. Liesel is 5 1/2 weeks old, and her black coat and clearly dark brown eyes tell me her genetics color makeup most likely is:
"aa" Self or solid color. The color on each fiber shaft is black. Darker at the tips and fading paler to charcoal at the base. At this point her color is very dark for her fiber is short. As it grows, things will happen and her coat will fade as the intermediate fiber shaft grows long very fast and does not retain the depth of the colored tips of her coat, which will always be black. Her face, where fur remains short during her life, will always be black. I am journeying on a discovery mission to find out if stray white hairs identified on the face of a "solid" black rabbit will lead to white hairs in the coat at a later age. Stay tuned. I will have more info in ten years.
"B-" Black, which is the dominant gene for color in the gene pool. The "-" could be either "B" or "b", but it makes no difference what it is for "B" always shows itself regardless of the attributes of its companion gene. It may indeed be "b", since Liesel has a chocolate brother, and we may be able to determine this after she is bred. Interestingly enough, now I know that Liesel's black mother Liebchen carries a hidden "b" gene in HER makeup. A true black self/solid colored rabbit will have brown eyes IF the "C" genes allow for it.
"C-" All color provided by the "B" genes shows through fully. Well, this is true now, and will be true later, but there are questions in my mind about those silly white hairs in an adult coat. When color shows through fully, then eyes will be brown. There are a number of "c" genes that alter the color expressed making the coat more yellow or less black, and adding a few new tones to the gradations of color from black, blue, chocolate, lilac of the coat. These genes also change eye color, and they work cooperatively when the right combos are present, so you can get light brown eyes, golden eyes, marbled brown eyes, grey eyes, and marbled grey eyes. They are:
"chd", "chm", "chl", and "ch"
I suspect one of these may be in Liesel's background, but they are not expressed right now. They may not ever be expressed, as current genetics understanding goes, but I have my doubts. Stay tuned.
"D-" Color depth expression is as deep as it can be, while allowing for the other genes to make a play on which color gets expressed. Currently the accepted genetic expression of "D" is black, and "d" as the dilute of black, or blue. When "D" is present, eye color is as dark as it can be, So, brown.
"E-" The extension gene. This factor will keep color expression confined to PARTS of the body, or allow it all over. "E" allows it all over, so Liesel, being an all-over colored black rabbit has this makeup. If her makeup was "ee" she could still have brown eyes, as "ee" confines full color to the head (eyes!) and ears, back haunch, tail, and feet, and strips out any black/blue/chocolate/lilac from other parts of the coat, leaving a cream/golden bunny with solid colored extremities. There are a number of additional "E" genes that have been wrecking havoc with my herd "Es" and "Ej". I suspect "Es" is at work. The steel gene expresses itself in partial spurts here and there when the genetics are not quite perfect for full expression, and that may be the reason I am seeing stray white hairs in the coats of my black rabbits. Stay tuned.