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Thread: Flawed Koi used as breeders

  1. #1
    Daihonmei
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    Flawed Koi used as breeders

    SO? What is up with that?
    Please do not discuss or bring into the picture the koi that have a defect that occurred during their life. I'm talking about genetically defective koi being used as breeders.
    i saw a title once that read something like " Are koi perfect; what would you change" it was asking for artistic input into the direction koi breeders should take the shape, pattern, and color of koi.
    I didn't post but I immediately thought, "I wish breeders would stabilize koi by quit breeding defective koi to get "quality spawns". The flaws might not show up in the offspring to any great degree, so the "pairing" is consider quality.....but why is it considered appropriate to continue using flawed koi as broodstock? The defective genes DO get passsed on. Some of the good koi are carriers.
    IF this practice was not done then wouldn't resulting generations have fewer defects and therefore have a greater percentage of saleable fish and therefore result in more money in the koi breeders' pockets...
    My original thought concerning improving koi was, "I wish they didn't have to kill so many koi to get a few good ones."

  2. #2
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    A very interesting question.

    Often I see reference to using a koi with terrible pattern and excellent conformation and size as parent stock. This makes sense, because pattern is so variable. The chances are tht if the genes for shape and size are passed on, there will be good patterns coinciding.

    Some of the other combinations I occasionally read about make less sense. Crossing different lines, of course, reduces the defects from in-breeding, but I've never understood using an inferior Beni, since that is such an important factor in ultimate selection.

    In the end, the breeder is seeking to produce fry that rise to a new, higher level than what has come before. To get to that higher level, he has to use as parents fish that have a superior characteristic in some respect, although inferior in others. The genetic lottery of a hundred thousand fry gives hope that somewhere in those darting little bodies are a few, or even one, that got only the best each parent had to offer. ... So long as the dragonfly larvae did not get it.

  3. #3
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    Breeding koi is farming. you bring forth a saleable crop. If you sell koi as tosai for
    an overseas market at an agreed for price then it's in the numbers, not quality.
    Your crop is done the first year. Buying proven spawners is expensive. keeping second,third and forth year koi is costly. Raising an all japan winner is only a dream.


    for those who have been involved in dogs and shows, can attest to those who raise pups for sale with no regard to the standard for show.


    from a consumers stand point we want to buy from a proven winner who for generations have vied for the top. you will pay for the priviledge of buying their koi.

    even under the best of standards, the number of really top grade koi does not increase % wise. you may get a bigger saleable koi crop of good marketable koi but the really top ones will always be a handful.

  4. #4
    Nisai estanque_koi's Avatar
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    Luky freesby wrote:
    ...
    "I wish breeders would stabilize koi by quit breeding defective koi .....why is it considered appropriate to continue using flawed koi as broodstock? ...
    IF this practice was not done then wouldn't resulting generations have fewer defects and therefore have a greater percentage of saleable fish and therefore result in more money in the koi breeders' pockets...
    "I wish they didn't have to kill so many koi to get a few good ones."
    ------------

    I wonder where are the proofs showing that *breedeers* use defective Oyagoi ON PURPOSE? Who does consider appropiate using flawed Koi as Oyagoi? Excuse me, but all that seems quite unbelievable. I will acknowledge if you can provide more information supporting your statements.
    I believe that serious japanese breeders are honorable and do an excellent work.
    Getting a lot of variation among sibling tosai from the same spawn doesn't means (at least to me) that the parents are defective. I think it happens because most varieties are still "too young" and not well fixed yet.
    Be sure that tens of thousands siblings of each Grand Champion were culled just because they were not valuable. That is a fact.
    True selection involves continued work with a lineage along several generations. It implies keeping and breeding the very best of each generation in order to fix the desirable traits, while seeking to minimize inbreeding at the same time.
    A breeder might obtain and try several set of parents to start with, each fish being awesome. If one set of parents work well in the sense that they produce a good proportion of high quality fry, and since Koi can last decades, one can imagine that the breeder would keep on breeding with the same set of parents for years. Hence, that's just a first step to build a true lineage.

    Peter Wadington wrotte in an article that the production of the best breeder of Purachina in Japan has relied for years in a given set of Oyagoi. Would the female fail and the breeder coul be in trouble to find a new Oyagoi being able to produce the same quality offspring.

    Apparently some breeds of dogs are not well fixed yet. A friend of mine is international judge, and told me that good Rottweilers are particularly tricky to breed. The sons of international champions can give birth to "mutts".

    Back to Koi, you have to consider that in case a breeder had excellent parents producing 100% of their progeny with the same excellent quality, two things might happen:
    1) culling would be also mandatory. After all, who's got enough space available to raise millions of fry until they reach a saleable size?
    2) I guess that a huge increase in supply of high quality tosai would lead to a decrease of prices, that's pure law of supply and demand.

    Koi are said to be living jewels, and true jewels are so valuable mostly because they are scarce and difficult to obtain. I guess this also apply to Koi.

    regards,
    Diego
    Diego Jordano
    Cordoba, Spain
    A.E.K. web site http://www.elkoi.com
    pers. web site http://es.geocities.com/estanqueskois/

  5. #5
    Daihonmei
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    Diego, I don't understand the "luky Frisby" slight?
    As to breeders using flawed koi as breeders. It is not open for discussion. Most of us have knowledge of such practices and if you become a little more knowledgeable you will find instances where it is discussed in print. it is not the climate of this board to mention particular breeders using such fish and I will not. I will ask that you look at the other posts above yours and note that those people intimate that is does happen.
    And as to Waddy's mentioning breeding pairs being responsible for having "quality spawns". Often those pairs are flawed, sometimes obviously gentically. A breeder's primary concern is money. if the pair spawn good-looking genetically defective offspring then that is consider "quality". That is not responsible breeding, that is all about the money. And the reason it is difficult to find a pair that produce good offspring has something to do with the continued breeding of genetically defective breeders just to get a quality LOOKING spawn.
    I would much more like to see breeders try to reduce the number of defects in the general population. I'm not attcking the breeders, I am questioning the acceptance of a practice that continues to undermine the genetic quality of the next generation of koi.

  6. #6
    Jumbo Tom C's Avatar
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    Luke the word breeder is a very lose word if you ask me. Just about anyone can be called a breeder. I have seen a lot of breeders over the years that use junk that should have been culled years ago, and they use them to breed with. Do we call they guys breeders? I don't, well yes I do. But we call them more of a back yard breeder. In the US about 99% of them are back yard breeders. A back yard breeder has no idea how to cull or what to look for in a koi. The only thing they think about is MONEY. The question a lot of them ask them selfs is, can I add this deformed koi to the bag to make up for a good koi? They seem to think so. I got some domestic koi last year that about 5 out of 50 should have been culled a long time ago. But some breeder think others might not see it or say something about it. Out of that shipment of about 400 koi, 50 or so went into the trash that I wouldn't sell to a pour sole. Will I buy from this person again? Hell no, because they don't care about the hobby or the people they sell the koi too.

    I can only think of two US breeders that I would really call breeders. Brett and Brady would be the two. We all know them because of what they do.

    So are we talking about US breeders or Japanese breeders. Most of the Japanese breeders we all talk about are known because of great breeding with great breeders, not deformed koi as breeders.

    Tom

  7. #7
    Nisai estanque_koi's Avatar
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    Red face

    Luke Frisbee wrotte: Diego, I don't understand the "..." slight?

    Beg your pardon, wasn't intentional.

    "Most of us have knowledge of such practices and if you become a little more knowledgeable you will find instances where it is discussed in print."

    You are right, I have a whole lot to learn. However, this is a thorny issue and won't easily take for granted that breeders use on purpose such an inappropriate procedure. Maybe is my poor english, but from what you said it sounds to me as if it was a rather general practice, and that is hard to admit whithout proofs.
    Can you provide at least the references of the articles where this subject has been discussed? I would acknowledge if you can send it by private mail, in case you don't want to do it in the message board.
    All the best,
    Diego

    As to breeders using flawed koi as breeders. It is not open for discussion. Most of us have knowledge of such practices and if you become a little more knowledgeable you will find instances where it is discussed in print. it is not the climate of this board to mention particular breeders using such fish and I will not. I will ask that you look at the other posts above yours and note that those people intimate that is does happen.
    And as to Waddy's mentioning breeding pairs being responsible for having "quality spawns". Often those pairs are flawed, sometimes obviously gentically. A breeder's primary concern is money. if the pair spawn good-looking genetically defective offspring then that is consider "quality". That is not responsible breeding, that is all about the money. And the reason it is difficult to find a pair that produce good offspring has something to do with the continued breeding of genetically defective breeders just to get a quality LOOKING spawn.
    I would much more like to see breeders try to reduce the number of defects in the general population. I'm not attcking the breeders, I am questioning the acceptance of a practice that continues to undermine the genetic quality of the next generation of koi.[/QUOTE]
    Diego Jordano
    Cordoba, Spain
    A.E.K. web site http://www.elkoi.com
    pers. web site http://es.geocities.com/estanqueskois/

  8. #8
    Tategoi
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    Talking Luke and Diego

    Luke: Your quote "Diego, I don't understand the "luky Frisby" slight?

    You've come a long way in the last year that I've been reading your posts...keep it up...

    Diego: Luke is right, there's a breeder on this board who tells you that he breeds pond mutts using pond mutts...Why...Because he breeds for the Wal/K-Mart market where quality doesn't matter... Nothing wrong with that, he fills a need...A businessman would be nuts to pay $50-$60,000 for an Oyagoi to sell 5 cent fingerlings... Considering how many Wal/K-marts there are, there has to be a lot of breeders like my friend...

    Aloha! Mike

  9. #9
    Daihonmei aquitori's Avatar
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    Are we talking about Domestic breeders? If so who? Like I would buy anything Domestic anyways...
    The world sleeps as the chance to learn something new passes.

  10. #10
    Oyagoi bekko's Avatar
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    Luke,


    I'm the junk koi breeder Mike T refers to and I'm here to try to give you a genetics lesson.


    First, letís define "flawed koi" and "defects". I assume we are talking about deformities here. Every koi has flaws and defects - the grand champion could always be just a tiny bit better. Obvious physical deformities are another matter all together. Fish with obvious deformities are always the first to go. These include flared gills, missing eyes or fins, bent heads, scoliosis, etc. I have never heard of anyone selling koi which are obviously deformed. You can't even sell deformed koi as feeder fish because the consumer is afraid a deformed koi will make his oscar or arowana sick. I suspect most deformities are culled by Mother Nature in the process of rearing fry. The most heavily deformed cannot nourish themselves or cannot compete with their siblings and perish early. Fish with obvious deformities, but which live long enough for someone to look at them (the first cull), are tossed immediately.


    There are all gradations between the koi which is obviously deformed and the koi which has "perfect" confirmation. I say "perfect" because it is such a subjective thing and reflects as much the eye of the artist as what is best for the fish. Some fish have obvious deformities. Others have such subtle deformities that we no longer call it a deformity - we call it poor confirmation. Is a fish with a thinner tail tube deformed? At what point do small pectoral fins cease to be called "small" and start to be called "deformed".


    Deformities are common in koi and in any animal which produces very large numbers of offspring. There are deformities in wild carp offspring although we are unlikely to ever see them because they are less fit to survive and will perish early. I assume that there are fewer deformities in wild carp than there are in koi though. This is an unavoidable artifact of the domestication and selective breeding process. We do not demand that our koi be able to compete out in the wild and we provide an environment where a weaker individual can survive. More about in-breeding depression in a minute.


    Every breeder, even the backyard breeder like me, uses the best koi at their disposal for broodstock. Rearing a batch of fish is a lot of effort for precious little reward so only a masochist would do otherwise. Many of my broodstock are four generations removed from Japan - but that is not the important consideration. Of more importance is how much selection was done to arrive at that parent fish. I suspect a really good brood fish, like a really good show fish, is out there in the range of one in one-hundred thousand. In other words, about 100,000 fish were looked at to arrive at that selected individual. Of those other 99,999, most were thrown away as juveniles because they had deformities or because they did not have enough color to make it to market. Others made the grade to be marketable, but are of lesser quality than a show fish or a brood fish. Of course, most of the fish which are born are never even looked at as they perish before the first cull.


    I have a big back yard, but do not have the space or time to look at millions of fish each year. I can look at about 10,000, feed most of them to the pigs, sell a few thousand at grade 'C', keep several hundred for up to a year, and keep ten to twenty for several years. Thus, my very best fish is not likely to be as good as a real breeder who can look at (or pay people to look at) millions of koi each year. Nonetheless, even the best breeder using the best broodstock is going to throw away a LOT of fish. Koi do not breed true and never will.


    In an attempt to get any type of domestic animal to breed true you have to do line breeding (i.e. in-breeding, breed siblings, mother to son, etc). You also have to keep selecting for the same desirable characteristics over and over. In koi, most of these characteristics are polymorphic with contributions from many places along the genome so it is not a simple on-off switch. There are different levels of dominance and recessiveness associated with each characteristic as well. Most of the desirable traits in koi are recessive which means they will usually be masked and are only occasionally displayed in the phenotype that we see.


    With some animals, you can weed out the undesirable characteristics and get to a point where almost all the offspring have the desired look. In other animals, like koi, before you can weed out the undesirable characteristics the line becomes "weak" through in-breeding depression. In-breeding depression happens because in selecting for desirable characteristics, you inadvertently also select for characteristics which are undesirable. In many cases this is unavoidable because these undesirables are so closely associated with desirable characteristics on the genome. When the line becomes "weak" due to in-breeding depression the rate of deformities becomes excessive, the fish may be stunted, etc.


    To recover from the in-breeding depression, it is necessary to do out-crossing. Out crossing brings in relatively unrelated genetic material. Out-crossing results in an inter-varietals type of hybrid vigor (not species hybrids, but varietal hybrids). This renewed vigor strengthens the line in terms of reducing the number of deformities, the fish grow larger, etc. However, it also dilutes those desirable characteristics which the in-breeding process was selecting for.


    So, itís a tug-of-war going back and fourth between in-breeding and out-crossing. You make a little progress with in-breeding, and then have to out-cross to strengthen the line and most, or all, of the progress is lost. The overall rate of progress is, thus, extremely slow. Because of polymorphism and the varying degrees of dominance/recessiveness for koi characteristics, the genetics are exceedingly complex. Simple Mendelian genetics, science and math become almost useless and the breeder must rely on art, intuition and trial-and-error.


    To make things even tougher, the best show fish may not be the best brood fish. Sometimes a pairing of fish which do not have the best patterns have genotypes which just seem to click and they throw a larger proportion of show-quality fish than other pairs. These broodstock can not be considered flawed or defective despite their less-than-perfect patterns. They are the right fish for the task at hand.


    It is my opinion that the only way to avoid large number of deformities and culls is to find a completely new paradigm for producing koi. We will have to shift from typical selective breeding programs to transgenics and/or cloning technology which does not presently exist. When it comes, the impetus and rational will be based on economics, not the need to kill fewer fish.

    Mike T,


    My friend, I am offended. I may have junk fish because of the limited numbers I am able to produce and select from (as discussed above). However, I do not consider them mutts. Mutt implies a mixed breed heritage. Pond mutts are what you get when your yamabuki spawns with your sanke. Junk fish are what you get when you cross a one-in-a-thousand kohaku to another one-in-a-thousand kohaku.


    Also, I need to talk to you about curing bamboo. Will send e-mail.


    steve hopkins

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