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Book Reviews

Genetics of Domestic Rabbits: A Manual for Students of Mammalian Genetics and an Aid to Rabbit Breeders and Fur Farmers by W. E. Castle (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1930)

This is a great book written by W. E. Castle, who was Professor of Genetics at Harvard University and Research Associate at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. Although Genetics of Domestic Rabbits was written in 1930, most of the modern genes had been "discovered" by then, so the book is still a good resource. The first chapter covers the basic genes involved in determining rabbit coat colors and the associated mutations. In subsequent chapters, Professor Castle describes linkage and multiple allelomorphs for different genes and the genetic constitution of various breeds. The book concludes with chapters that cover the genes responsible for body size and ear length, and the criteria for true-breeding types and individuals.

Beginners who know nothing about genetics will find Genetics of Domestic Rabbits easy to understand. This is due to the excellent format of the book, which starts with the basics and goes through a variety of topics in a logical order. People who have some knowledge of genetics and want to brush up will also find this book to be useful. For anyone in the science fields, Professor Castle's book is an interesting reflection of the past.


Contributions to the Genetics of the Domestic Rabbit by W.E. Castle and Paul B. Sawin (Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1932, Publication No. 427)

By J. Ross

Once you have finished reading Professor Castle's seminal work in the field, Genetics of Domestic Rabbits, the next step is to read Contributions to the Genetics of the Domestic Rabbit. This book dives deeper into rabbit genetics, covering the English and Dutch spotting genes and their combination in the Hotot rabbit. (This coverage makes the book a must for anyone raising or thinking about raising Hotots of any size!) Contributions to the Genetics of the Domestic Rabbit includes good pictures and grading scales for the classification of English and Dutch spotted rabbits.

The second half of the book, which is written by Paul B. Sawin, is titled "Albino Allelomorphs of the Rabbit with Special Reference to Blue-Eyed Chinchilla and Its Variations." Sawain explains things such as the variation in eye color in chinchillas, the relation of the rusty back to eye color, and wide ticking. This half of the book can is a little muddled, but for those breeding chinchilla varieties, it can shed a lot of light on the genetics behind the chinchilla color.



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