The Genetic Imperative

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While channel-surfing recently, I came across a program about ants. It seems that nearly all the ants in a colony are female, have the same mother, and share over 75% the same genes. Scientists think that maybe this accounts for why the individual ant is so willing to sacrifice itself to protect the colony. It really doesn't matter so much if the individual ant dies because the same genes will survive in all of its sisters. It's as if there is a genetic imperative... as long as the genes themselves survives, all is well.

That's one approach to survival I suppose. Not that humans or dogs are ants, but it made me think about the inherent power of genes. I find these little packages of life so fascinating! Take this lovely puppy, for example...

This is Holly at Pat Postma's Kennebank kennel in Nova Scotia. Holly has an exquisite outline for a four-month-old Saint pup. A lovely and elegant neck. A strong level topline merging smoothly into a beautiful rear. Excellent length of leg. And all in a gorgeous cosmetic package! 

All of her features and the way they come together are determined by her genes. And where did she get those genes? They were handed down to her through countless generations, but not in a totally random fashion. Let's look at some of her immediate ancestors. Here is her sire, Benbaron's VonGabe Of Eddie...

He has the same outline as his daughter. Holly's mother Vegas was sired by Ch Benbaron's Ustinov Of Eddie, a full older brother of Gabe...

I think we can agree that Ustinov and Gabe are very similar sorts of dogs. So when Pat bred a niece to an uncle, Holly ended up with a "double dose" of those genes. 

One does inbreeding when one wants to concentrate and get a fix on certain desirable genes. So what will Holly look like in another year? Well, here's one possibility .... like Ch Benbaron's Nifty And N'Ice, a girl who also had many of the same family genes since she was inbred on The Iceman, Holly's great-grandfather.

Holly looks the way she does because of her "genetic imperative". Successful breeders know how important it is to understand and protect the genetic heritage of their dogs.