Never heard of that theory of overpopulation resulting in albinism. Starvation yes but albinism? Other traits of albino deer are Roman nose, as it’s called, where the deer tend to have a shorter and rounder snout like that of a mule. It’s also been noted that albino deer tend to have shorter legs. Not a good trait when considering predators like coyotes and wolves and the fact that their color already throws one strike against them.
Overpopulation may increase inbreeding, I don’t know. What if inbreeding throws out freaks like these albino deer? Albino’s are kind of like two headed turtles or two headed snakes. Although I don’t believe two heads are a result of a recessive gene, like albinism but nonetheless in the world of nature a real problem for the animal. Inbreeding might just cause this recessive gene to become more prominent and increase the cases associated with it. Nonetheless this gene is an abnormality not defining a specific species. Protect them? Come on, these are animals and not human beings put one or two in a zoo for curiosity and let the nature of things take care of the rest.
i agree elwood, i believe this is what the bio said about inbreeding of over populated herds
The truth of the matter lies in the middle. Albinism, as I previously mentioned is a recessive gene. This recessive gene dictates either the pigmentation of the hair and skin, of the eyes or all collectively depending on the type of the recessive genes within the animal. There are varying levels of albinism based on the recessive gene contained. (e.g. Ocular, affecting the eyes and melanin which affects hair)
For albinism to be passed on from parents to offspring, where the animal physically displays the traits of an albino or piebald, both parents had to possess the recessive gene. If only one of the parents had the recessive gene and the other did not, the offspring would be born with normal pigmentation, but would carry the recessive gene nonetheless. (Please note that this process can work both ways to the point of over pigmentation, causing a very dark coloration.)
Thus at a later point in life, during the breeding cycle, the gene could be passed on and potentially with that of another mating deer also carrying the recessive gene. So when you are talking about the frequency of albinism in inbred herds, the obvious roll of the dice can only happen so many times before these affected animals will interact and potentially produce albino offspring.
With the incredible odds stacked against the albino offspring of lacking pigmentation and other physically limiting and potentially debilitating issues, either fully or partially, it would hinder survivorship right from the get-go. Starting with when the mother tries to conceal the newborn immediately after birth, the odds of survivorship are low and do not really increase well from there. Thus it is likely that a greater number of albino animals are born each year than ever make it to the point of being observed.
Whitetail deer, which are gregarious and extremely complacent, reproduce rapidly and breed with little regard to kinship. What this means is that these animals prefer to be in groups with like animals, they will rear an orphaned animal, they follow learned patterns to the point of predictability and breed without regard to their relationship to each other. These factors considered, albinism would have a higher frequency in an affected herd lacking bloodline augmentation.
As far as malnutrition or starvation being a factor, the lack of adequate food can cause an abnormal migration (yarding) or gathering of the animals during the actual breeding season. This normally is a time that deer go to great extremes to try to contain the breeding population into smaller groups and have a lower tolerance for each other. Those smaller group breakdowns however would have to have adequate food sources available. A lack of nutrition is one of the few factors that will redirect the normal urge to be territorial. Malnutrition and starvation will not “create” a recessive gene for pigmentation, nor will overpopulation. So albinism, unless you could find another link, would not be affected by overpopulation and inbreeding unless the gene already existed within members of the population.
thanks doc that makes it alot clearer to me,now i can pass this knowledge on to my club members.
As always it appears there are a lot of misconstrued ideas about albinos. glad that things are getting cleared up. The laws against shooting them are just another example of how precedents once set on false beliefs are still holding true today even though we now know different.