For some reason, many people who would understand how poultry genes are inherited, unfortunately put up barriers that don’t allow themselves to progress

I can relate to this thinking. For me to learn something, it is a slow process. My brain has to really absorb the information and often it takes a certain type of teacher to educate me – no matter what the subject.

I feel very glad that I persisted with Poultry Genetics – I had some good teachers, including Brian Reeder from the US, David Hancox from Australia, and Clare Skelton from the UK. The late Dr Carefoot was very inspirational and became a god friend. It was, however, the persistance of Brian Reeder through email over a 6 year period, and the innate teaching ability of Clare Skelton that really helped it all to (eventually) sink into place.

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Fortunately, many genes that have an effect on poultry plumage are passed on by Mendel’s law of inheritance. Those of you familar with the green pea experiment which used Punnett squares to demonstrate the point, will no doubt have a slight inkling of what I am talking about.

Genetics needn’t be difficult. Once I Iearned that I could manipulate genes to express in the way I wanted in future generations, I soon came to realise that anything was possible.

I learnt a lot of what I now regard as knowledge from experimenting, and making all sorts of crosses over many years to establish some firm answers.

It is very gratifying to get to this point, and if I can share my knowledge with others, and teach them something, it has all been worthwhile. Creating a new colour isn’t all about understanding the genes – sure it helps. But, it’s how you go about implementing what you know, or the advice you have been given that really counts.

For more information, see 21st Century Poultry Breeding