Performance genes

Marker-assisted selection in racing pigeons

When pairing racing pigeons, correctly estimating breeding values is of essential importance. Physical characteristics, such as previous performance, general health, fitness and behaviour should be considered. In addition, genetic factors, such as the pigeon’s pedigree and known performance genes should also be taken into account. Especially at a top level, this can make the difference when pairing.

The selection and pairing of pigeons on the basis of e.g. performance genes is called marker-assisted selection or MAS and is increasingly becoming the standard when breeding various animal species.

For racing pigeons, 4 mutations on 3 performance genes can currently be tested, which are scientifically linked to the performance of racing pigeons. The success that can be achieved with the different markers depends e.g. on the flight distance for which the pigeons are used (more information is provided under the different markers at the bottom of the page).

Of course, selection on genetic markers alone is not the right way to go. However, in combination with a smart physical assessment, it can be beneficial. Marker-assisted selection is now also a viable option for amateurs because the prices are significantly lower now. It is not inconceivable that a large number of markers will be tested in the future and that MAS will be fully integrated into modern pigeon racing. References For questions regarding the heredity of these traits and breeding advice, please contact our veterinary practice.

To prevent fraud, samples for performance genes are only taken by our veterinarians. For more information or an appointment, call +32 13 35 37 01.

Upon completion of the test, you will receive a certificate with the result of the analysis.


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