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The Basics of Base Colors in Horses

Horses come in a wide variety of colors, with many different genes at play behind the scenes. Throughout this article, I will highlight the three base colors and provide accurate genetics for each. I will show examples of adult horses and point out the most common misconceptions I’ve encountered. Key Terms Genotype - The entire genetic makeup. Phenotype - Set of observable characteristics that result from the interaction between genotype and environment. Allele - One of two (or more) versions of a gene that live on a chromosome. Each individual inherits one from their mother and one from their father. Locus - Location of a gene on a chromosome. Dominant - When two different alleles of the same gene exist, the one that gets expressed is known as dominant. Dominant alleles are typically written first and in capital letters. Recessive - This is the allele that doesn’t get expressed or is masked by the dominant allele. Recessive alleles are typically written second as lowercase lette

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