Friday, 13 October 2017

Some more photos of Watussi x Maremmana

Claus Kropp from the Auerrind project recently published a post on the use of Watussi in the project on the Auerrind blog, including a recent photo of Thando and his half-Maremmana offspring. 
Thando (©www.auerrind.wordpress.com)
Apollo (© www.auerrind.wordpress.com)
Ambra (© www.auerrind.wordpress.com)
I think that Apollo might approach the age of reaching its final colour, but it is obvious that he is darker in colour than its halfblood sister. This is likely mostly due to its Maremmana ancestry, but sometimes also Watussi cattle show a tendency of sexual dichromatism. The zebuine hump seems to be either lacking or very weakly developed yet, but this is irrelevant as those individuals are F1. Surely the hump might or might not reappear in future cross individuals, depending on coincidence. One always has to pick the right individuals once the genes become split up and distributed among the offspring. Regarding the colour, I think this combination bears the potential for very dark or even black bulls (probably with a colour saddle) in F2 and subsequent combinations. Watussi might pass on alleles for very dark bulls, but is unable to express it since their coat colour seems to lack the black pigment eumelanin. Maremmana enables that, but carries dilution alleles that remove red pigment, pheomelanin. Watussi, however, contributes the wildtype alleles that enable the expression of pheomelanin. Thanks to the 2. Mendelian rule, it is possible that true F2 individuals might end up showing the right wildtype aurochs colour setting. 

I am confident that it is possible to boost the horn size of the Auerrind crossbreeds using Watussi without adopting the negative traits of the breed using careful selection and also a bit of luck. It worked successful with Heck cattle of Neandertal descent, and in Hortobagy there are a couple of qualitatively aurochs-like Taurus cattle with Watussi influence. 
Thus, I am looking forward to watching those individuals grow up and to see their respective offspring with great interest. 


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