I am probably the worlds worst about thread drift on this board. But, Johnny gave me the ability to correct my own mistakes by splitting the topic off. So, that's what I did...
I also made the mistake of discussing genetics with Icesphere... a geneticist. Not my brightest moment... since I have such a limited understanding of it.
My goal, as the in-house ranch geneticist (actually Karnie holds that title and I am her gopher), is to bolster those traits that we like and, if possible, to suppress the traits that we don't. Of course, since our knowledge of the whole genome is incomplete, I can inadvertently pass on undesirable traits that I didn't recognize, or didn't have any control over.
So, in the case of our guinea hogs, I have several traits that I like:
1. Long bodies = more bacon
2. Longer legs = better ability to keep their bodies above ground and less chance of infection.
3. Shorter noses = less ability to "root" and tear up the pasture.
4. Gentle temperament = I never want to get bit by a hog. It will not end well for either of us.
5. Good mothering skills = it goes without saying.
None of these can probably be traced to a single gene. But, with the exception of 4 and 5, they do seem to follow the parents. Numbers 4 and 5 can be heavily influenced by environment, also.
As far as our cattle go, we are heavily involved in Dexter cattle, another relatively rare breed. We are experimenting (it started accidentally with a chance Dexter/Angus breeding... The Dang-us) with mixing the angus and dexter to get a good dual purpose breed, with good beef and good milk, no horns, and a gentle temperament. So far, if it can be stabilized, it has turned out great.
We also had an unexpected benefit. The angus tends to throw a small calf and the dexter is a small breed. So, a large calf could kill the mother, due to size. But, the angus tends to grow very fast. Our Dang-us bull, at two years, is about 1.5 times the size of his Dexter mother. We have now mated him back to a dexter heifer and hope to see promising results.
Milk quality is also a factor, since we are seeking to achieve an A2/A2 gene pool, in the end.
Like I said, my knowledge of genetics is a lot on the light side.But, we're trying.