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Thread: same topic, different day----

  1. #1
    Daihonmei
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    same topic, different day----

    Same topic, different day--- genetics of koi---

    Junichi/Ray,/Art , of course you all know this but for the newer hobbyists amongst us now;
    We talked a lot about genetics, atavism, color gene mutations, piebald patterns etc. But sometimes it is best to start at the beginning ---
    It seems there are many many colors in koi and even more patterns. They all seem unique to the beginners eyes, and often depending on how unusual a pattern is on a koi determines how in demand it is amongst beginners and how much money it can fetch!
    I cringe when I read an author say that koi are unique in that no two patterns are alike!! It is a case of not seeing the forest thru the trees!
    There are really only four basic patterns. Not fifty or three hundred or infinity-- just four. (I recall when a certain koi conman used to tell hobbyists there are a dozen. The guy was the ultimate emperor with no clothes, but I digress)
    Within the four main patterns, there are two things going on-- one, mentioned in another post is degeneration back to a wild pattern and two) variations on the mutation pattern.
    The most wild pattern is of course the ogon pattern
    The second most wild pattern is the lateral pattern
    The third most wild pattern is the wrapped pattern
    The fourth most wild pattern and therefore the most refined pattern is the dorsal pattern
    Nothing in nature is black or white, on or off. Instead we see extreme phenotypes (double recessives and dominate mutation traits) and also a blend (incomplete dominance). This creates the illusion of many many patterns. But in truth, they are variations of one of the main four patterns.
    This is what is so amazing about koi appreciation! You need BOTH a knowledge of the genetics you are observing (the science side) but you also need the artistic ability to see the 'Atmosphere' of a koi so as to identify where the individual arises from.
    A perfect example of blend or incomplete dominance is no better demonstrated than in kohaku. Therefore, for yet another reason, all begins with kohaku and ends with kohaku when it comes to understanding the science and art of koi appreciation. JR

  2. #2
    Nisai
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    Jim what makes the patterns interesting is that within the four basic patterns where we start there are so many VARIATIONS. Obviously a koi can be wrapped in a wrap pattern in many ways. There can be straight wrap where not much white is seen and not many sashi and kiwa areas to be seen and there are what hobbyist call complex where many fingers of white come up on top. Some of the spider patterns and yes I know there is nothing called a spider pattern. Over the years we have seen many shapes on the dorsal pattern. Hearts, X's, etc.
    What I also find interesting is the change over the years in preference for different patterns and what was placed in higher percieved value. Back in the dark ages of our involvement in the hobby there was the Step Pattern. It was all about how many steps and where they were placed. Then came the almighty "Inazuma" and people just liked saying the name. Then came the wrap pattern. The bigger the better. I sort of gravitated to this one because I thought on larger fish this was more power than elegance and sometimes you got both. That is why I still am a sucker for a good Showa as I like the bolder patterns. Now on Kohaku it seems we are back to the dorsal step pattern again and it is more in desire again. Full circle. Not only does it begin and end in Kohaku for it elegance and simplicity but now the pattern has made full circle and back to simpler clean looks. Keeps things interesting.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei
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    You know I public talk about this can be a real 'romance' killer! The heart kohaku for instance is just a fluke on a stray beni! Actually a bad pattern-- but a show stopper that breaks the rules based on a coincidence of stray beni and human's whimscial side!

    The big pattern was something the world had to accept and tolerate when jumboism became the singular goal of the 1990s. Atavism is a reversion to the wild gene, as you know. And inbreeding is the enemy of the wild gene. But in that tug of war, when you outcross or breed wild to wild trait, you gets lots of wild traits you didn't necessarily want!
    So the long/wide wrapped single beni plate came with the big wild body! Some breeders apologized and said it is part of the march towards vigor and size and would be tamed. Others took the marketing root and began to talk about the lovely detail in the Emperor's new clothes! What the wild beni plate did deliver, especially in magoi cross ( which most people don't realize now but was a failure as an experiment according to the big boys in Hiroshima) was the change in the toe of chromataphores and the massive count of guanine within the dense red cells.

    the indentation in the large wrapped beni plate pattern was an improvement of type-- but a natural refinement in that the shiro is so powerful as a spreading gene. So a cut here and there ( and some done by razor during 'winter work') produces a charming look. But not a refined look.
    Winter work needs to shave fish that have secondary beni on dorsal orientated fish. On wild type jumbo types, winter work involves carving an entirely new pattern from a mass. Both are cheating of course but for the practical fish seller, it can't be helped. Personally I find shaving off stray faded orange secondary hi at the chin and eye, less offensive than actually making a pattern out of a wild type plate. JR

  4. #4
    Tategoi
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    Can you provide us a koi that has been "cut"? And for dog shows, you must cut and trim your dog. Rather it's ears, tails or hair. Why not fish? You can create your own look.

    And how do you cut a koi? I would like to try that to see how it comes out.

  5. #5
    Nisai
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    I have scrapped gill plates several times before on Kohaku. The gill plate orange Hi bothers me enough that I need to remove. As far as body hi I have never gone past just single scale tobi and pulled with tweezers. This does not alter pattern but takes away that extra beauty mark. Maybe I am old fashion but I did not like the era where there was a challenge to get to 1 meter. I did not like the resulting body shape. I like the wide and high more than the long and low. I am glad we can get away from that and back to the smaller 90 bu fish that I always liked better. I like body better and the patterns seemed to be more refined and thicker.
    There is always that attraction for that new thing. The new type Hi. The new type sumi and size of sumi. It seems when it all settles down we get back to the good stuff we had already.
    Now JR do you think the variations in the patterns are governed by market and whether the economy is good in Japan, whether the breeders are getting their daily bills paid by the European market or if being breed for USA consumption? How much does breeding choices change when the Japanese are no longer breeding for the Japanese? It used to be said that the years profit came down to the selling of that 5% top fish, but it seems to me these days, that the top fish get the money back, but there are more fish being sold to the foriegn market now in the middle range to make their money. Do you think culling is not as deep any more to save more of what the foriegn market can absorb and afford?

  6. #6
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chang26k View Post
    Can you provide us a koi that has been "cut"? And for dog shows, you must cut and trim your dog. Rather it's ears, tails or hair. Why not fish? You can create your own look.
    The ones that come to mind that I remember were perfect cut round Tancho Kohakus.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasPR View Post
    Within the four main patterns, there are two things going on-- one, mentioned in another post is degeneration back to a wild pattern and two) variations on the mutation pattern.
    The most wild pattern is of course the ogon pattern
    The second most wild pattern is the lateral pattern
    The third most wild pattern is the wrapped pattern
    The fourth most wild pattern and therefore the most refined pattern is the dorsal pattern....
    Hi JR,

    I have a question which may dove-tail nicely into this discussion: Is there some degree of association between the the various color patterns and the physical size the Koi is likely to reach? Is has been my general sense that many of the larger Koi I have seen were Ogons (single color fish). Viewing the patterns in terms of degrees from the "wild type" -- as you have done above -- I might consider that the more "wild" the patterned fish tend to get larger (consistent with various mutations observed in other species)?

    Paul

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chang26k View Post
    Can you provide us a koi that has been "cut"? And for dog shows, you must cut and trim your dog. Rather it's ears, tails or hair. Why not fish? You can create your own look.

    And how do you cut a koi? I would like to try that to see how it comes out.
    I would recommend the "Bass-O-Matic:"

    Saturday Night Live - Bassomatic - Video - http://www.nbc.com

  9. #9
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paultergeist View Post
    Hi JR,

    I have a question which may dove-tail nicely into this discussion: Is there some degree of association between the the various color patterns and the physical size the Koi is likely to reach? Is has been my general sense that many of the larger Koi I have seen were Ogons (single color fish). Viewing the patterns in terms of degrees from the "wild type" -- as you have done above -- I might consider that the more "wild" the patterned fish tend to get larger (consistent with various mutations observed in other species)?

    Paul
    Hi Paul, yes, as a general statement, the more you inbreed to get specific traits the more you concentrate undesirable traits and also the smaller the individuals tend to be.
    As a Siberian husky breeders, I can no longer look at today's siberians in that they are ( especially the females) a tiny fox like dog as opposed to the taller, stronger medium to large dogs they used to be. Too much inbreeding and superficial goals of fur and eye color.

    In koi, we have a limited mutation pool to begin with. Intense efforts to get patterns right made for smaller weaker fish. So the classic and natural thing to do is OUT cross. The magoi experiments and the doitsu experiments are good examples of outcrossing to get hybrid vigor into a line or more likely just to get new genes into the pool.
    Generally speaking, wild type genes and more primitive patterns ( like solid and wrapped) tend to also bring bigger, longer bodies. JR

  10. #10
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by koidoc View Post
    I have scrapped gill plates several times before on Kohaku. The gill plate orange Hi bothers me enough that I need to remove. As far as body hi I have never gone past just single scale tobi and pulled with tweezers. This does not alter pattern but takes away that extra beauty mark. Maybe I am old fashion but I did not like the era where there was a challenge to get to 1 meter. I did not like the resulting body shape. I like the wide and high more than the long and low. I am glad we can get away from that and back to the smaller 90 bu fish that I always liked better. I like body better and the patterns seemed to be more refined and thicker.
    There is always that attraction for that new thing. The new type Hi. The new type sumi and size of sumi. It seems when it all settles down we get back to the good stuff we had already.
    Now JR do you think the variations in the patterns are governed by market and whether the economy is good in Japan, whether the breeders are getting their daily bills paid by the European market or if being breed for USA consumption? How much does breeding choices change when the Japanese are no longer breeding for the Japanese? It used to be said that the years profit came down to the selling of that 5% top fish, but it seems to me these days, that the top fish get the money back, but there are more fish being sold to the foriegn market now in the middle range to make their money. Do you think culling is not as deep any more to save more of what the foriegn market can absorb and afford?
    Art, your last comments about the motives and business decisions of Japanese breeders has me thinking beyond patterns ( patterns being the dropping in standards in tateshita) --
    It's been a LONG road for the Japanese koi industry. Indeed it wasn't even an 'industry' for the first 3/4 of its existence. And it certainly hasn't been an export business for more than a 1/4 of its existence!
    In the beginning, I think it was simply a past time in which farmer breeders and subsistence farming breed fish for food and entertainment. And like any curiosity, seeing what could be next and what interesting individuals could be bred and then traded for others' interesting breeding experiments was a natural first step.
    The famous 1917 expo in Tokyo was really the first opportunity to introduce to all of the city people of Japan, what koi could be. And this was both a moment of local pride and an opportunity to support a region with a regional export.
    Today, the cardinal tetra of tropical fish fame supports an entire village in South America (along the Amazon). If not for the entire town and surrounding villages gearing up to catch, hold and export the tiny fish to the USA and Europe, the people of that region would be doing what everyone else along the Amazonia do-- slash and burn the forests! That tiny fish has changed lives, supported families and best of all; it is an annual renewable resource. But I digress-----
    As roads improved and the trains improved and the plastic bag was invented and available (a HUGE invention in the moving of koi around the world) the potential changed for farmers who only until then supplemented their incomes with koi. But even then, the real koi, the point of the efforts, were sold internally within Japan. It really wasn't until the last 1960s that koi could be considered and export item. And then only spotty shipments here and there around the world.
    So I think until this point, the efforts were to produce numbers to only save the best of the best even in the first year. Slowly the foreign markets were used as dumping grounds for those individuals that were not working out or the breeder knew were of no real value domestically. But we have to remember that even the best of the best were not as good as even medium grades of today. There were exceptional individuals of course but they were very rare. So high prices and the ability for a poor farmer to 'win the lottery' by selling an expensive fish to a Tokyo businessman was always there.
    As quality improved, more fish were produced to increase the odds of winning the lottery with the rich Japanese fancier. This numbers game leads to more cast offs. That leads to the need for more foreign dumping grounds. Even then, by the way, the real show koi of the west were bought IN Japan and sold by Japanese dealers in other countries- so good fish came from Japan but general grade koi could be bought from tropical fish importers and mass export sources.
    The Koreans were an early market. As were the British and the west coasters of the USA. Slowly the hot dot countries would rotate as stock market booms, real estate booms and other positive events lead to an interest in expensive koi. In a sense, koi can be viewed as ' a lucky charm' in that when an export imports expensive koi for the first time, it is hand in hand with a booming local economy!
    The old time breeders however were honorable, filled with pride and a sense of ethics and would be associated with only their best. This did not mean that they were above seeing their junk to brokers and unsuspecting strangers. But generally speaking there was a true quality control in the business- due to the culture, reputations and practical limits such as space and investment.
    There have always been conmen surrounding koi- hustlers with a dream. In fact my favorite Haiku;
    Koi dealer
    Dreamer
    Kite flyer
    Conman
    Somewhere around the mid to late 1990s, the culling standards really began to slip. Second/third generation farmers simply were not their Grandfather's mindset. Whole ponds of tateshita were readily sold to western dealers and brokers. Especially true of the cynical European dealers of Holland and England. Lots of games run on those consumers as the mystique swamped the reality of what the business was becoming.
    Koi breeding in Japan has really be a difficult experience for the individuals involved- the war, the bust of the Japanese economy, KHV, various crashing of import countries’ economies and shipping costs and import restrictions-- the list is very long and it's really a miracle that there still IS a koi business in Japan!
    Today the quality of the koi is higher at the apex (maybe not as high as a few years ago, but that is another post). And there are definitely many BETTER koi than the old days. But there are more koi in numbers being offered of a falr to low quality than CAN be offered as higher quality koi to the uneducated. I guess the take away here is--- poor quality is harder to see for the beginner. And the prices on great koi is about the same, whereas the medium grade is more expensive and low quality is much more expensive. JR

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