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Angelfish Genetics

This page provides information about angelfish genetics to hobbyists wanting to predict or target the production of specific angelfish varieties. It also provides notations for communicating angelfish genetics. These notations are generally consistent with the notations of other angelfish breeders. Unproven genes, and genes we are not experienced with, such as the streak gene, are not included. The information provided is based on our experience with genetic crosses, our current understanding, and the popular tropical fish literature. From time to time we update information with corrections and 
new information.

In Table 1, eleven gene mutations of angelfish are categorized according to "characteristic groups" that operate independently. We call a characteristic group a set of apparent alleles that operate independently from other sets 
of alleles.

Note that each gene mutation has an abbreviation; for example, M for marble or g for Gold. Upper case abbreviations designate genes which are dominant or incompletely dominant. (Most gene mutations in angelfish are incompletely dominant.) Lower case symbols designate genes which are recessive.

Table 1

In the genetic records of our own Angelfish, we record angelfish mutations by characteristic group in the same order shown in Table 1. The order of characteristic groups has no relation to locations on actual chromosomes.

For example, an albino pearlscale veiltail would have the following notation: +/+ +/+ V/+ +/+ +/+ p/p a/a. Respectively, this mean that the color (1st), and stripe (2nd) groups have no mutant genes, the fin group (3rd) has one gene for veil, the half-black (4th) and smokey (5th) groups have no mutant genes, the pearlscale (6th) group has 2 genes for pearlscale, and the albino (7th) group has 2 genes for albino. When an angelfish only has mutations in the first few groups, the list need only include groups up to the last group in the sequence. For example, an angelfish with color mutations for gold is designated: g/g. All other genes after the color group would be understood to be wildtype; therefore, g/g means g/g +/+ +/+ +/+ +/+ +/+ +/+. An angelfish with a single gene mutation for veiltail is designated: +/+ +/+ V/+ which means +/+ +/+ V/+ +/+ +/+ +/+ +/+. Note that attributing phenotypes to individual Mendelian genes is adequate for explaining and predicting many phenotypes in angelfish. However, keep in mind that this is probably oversimplified; many phenotypes are controlled by more complex genetic mechanisms, and new mutations can occur with each generation.

Table 2 presents for each known angelfish gene: dominance, phenotype, and gene interaction information. The information in this table helps make predictions of the offspring when crossing Angelfish with different combinations of genes.

Table 2

Table 3 presents phenotypes resulting from genes of 3 or more characteristic groups.

Note that for each characteristic group, a plus sign (+) is used to symbolize the corresponding wildtype gene at the locus of the gene mutation(s) or lack thereof. Therefore, each group has its own "+".

Also note that for each characteristic group, an asterisk (*) is used to symbolize a "wildcard". A wildcard signifies that any gene for the group could be present and still result in the stated pnenotype.

Table 3

Table 4 presents phenotypic characteristics that do not appear to be genetically controlled by discreet genes operating according to Mendel's law.

Table 4