| Guppy Designer
At this point we are not entirely sure that there is ahal-black gene. But there is a high probability thatcrossing a hal-black guppy with a guppy withoutthe hal-black gene will produce sons or daughters(or both) that have the hal-black pattern. So that isthe second thing you need to know about “genetictheory.” It involves a prediction. I predict that i youmake this cross you will get hal-black guppies, i not in the rst generation o the cross, at least by the second generation o the cross. Te act that thehal-black pattern’s blueprint is stored in genes andthose genes are passed on to sons and daughters ispretty amazing I think.I have discovered a number o simple theories thatexplain why guppies look the way they do. For along time I was puzzled by the weird colors and pat-terns on guppies that have the magenta gene. Tenone day my riend José René Meléndez Berríos puta comparison chart between sibling guppies (broth-ers) on Guppy Designer.
Te brother without the magenta gene is on the let, the magenta guppy is on the right.
I had done a lot o crosses involving the magentagene and I have extensively studied both geneticsand the color cells on the guppy. Previously I hadproposed a theory about the eect o the magentagene on the color cells o the guppy. But I was wrong. I was looking in all the wrong places. It took José René’s picture to trigger a sudden insight. Temagenta gene aects a type o metallic color cellcalled the “blue iridophore” and the red pigmentcolor cell associated with it. I went to my sh roomand examined my magentas. Wherever there wereblue iridophores on the normal colored sibling, there was magenta red on the magenta sibling. My new theory: magenta is a gene that aects the distribu-tion o iridophores and red color cells on the body. Would I have noticed this without studying geneticsand color cells? Perhaps. But the theory I had previ-ously learned told me where to look and to properly interpret what I was looking it.So why learn genetics theory and color cell biology? Well, you can come up with better (that is simplerand more elegant) theories about the expressiono genes and the way they are passed on rom onegeneration to the next. Better theories lead to betterpredictions. Tese predictions can save you a lot o time in the sh room. Years. Hundreds o gallons o water. Pounds o ood. o test my magenta theory,I decided to select males that show a lot o bluemetallic color. Tey should produce sons that show a lot more magenta color. See how that works?Instead o relying on trial and error, my continuedresearch into the magenta gene is directed andocussed by theories.I my theory proves to be correct, I will become amore deliberate designer o guppies. Te magentagene will become like a brush in my hand, a toolor coloring guppies. Instead o mixing two strainsand hoping or the best, I am going to deliber-ately choose my strains. It’s the dierence betweensplashing paint on the canvas and hoping or thebest versus deliberately applying paint to the canvas.Much more satisying!But there is an even better reason or studyinggenetics. Te accumulated knowledge I have aboutcolor cells and how they are inherited makes my magenta guppies much, much more interesting tolook at. It is what a che experiences when she sitsdown or a meal. It is like what an astronomer sees