F1 PNG White Stripe Maroon Clownfish, WS12

WS12 – does this fish carry critical Lightning genetics, or is it just a plain white stripe Maroon?  We simply don’t know!

More than any other question I’ve received in the past year, is one that once again, came up in a private communication from Carl W. Phillips Jr. tonight.  He asked,  “Mr Pedeersen whats you opinion of what the stripe maroon will throw some lightning ??”

My response: “I’ve written about this rather extensively on www.Lightning-Maroon-Clownfish.com and elsewhere. My gut feeling is that they are not carrying any special genetics; their value is in maintaining the PNG provenance, as well as the unknown results of Lightning X Lightning…what if that cross is fatal? I think the results of the parental cross do suggest a genetic inheritance, and it’s reasonable to assume that the mating of the Lightning Phenotype to the regular White Stripe Phenotype ought to result in the same phenotype spread in the F2 generation. Here’s some details for you to review -> http://www.lightning-maroon-clownfish.com/?p=1712

Obviously, we still do not have answers to the genetic questions surrounding the Lightning Maroon…so far all we can say, based on observations, is that the pattern seems heritable (of the 2 very small that hatched and survived in the spring 2013, one was White Stripe, one was Lightning).  However, the 50/50 spread in the F1 generation is a possible phenotpye ratio for all three common forms of genetic expression.  It could be that the white stripe siblings, with their slightly scalloped edges on their stripes and increased horns and spots might be representative of a very subtle “singe dose” form of a partially dominant lightning gene.  Then again, it’s just as possible that very subtle patterning is irrelevant / separate from Lightning altogether.  And that could mean that they could carry a hidden single-dose recessive lightning gene, or, in my opinion, they might simply not carry any lightning genetic material themselves.  As I relayed to Carl, it’s best to review the full rundown of the Genetic Possibilities behind the Lightning Maroon Clownfish – in drawing on what we know from other fish and other clownfish specifically, I put less than a 1/3 chance that Lightning is recessive, which means I also think there is less than 1/3 chance that the regularly patterned offspring carry a hidden lighting gene.

So to purchase a white striped sibling on the speculation that two of them mated together will produce lightnings is just that – speculation.  Then again, if Lightning was revealed to be the result of 2 recessive alleles, or if “Lightning” is the double dose of a partially dominant allele, then these white stripe siblings would be very important to the creation of MORE Lightnings.

In the end, it’s fair to say that we absolutely do not know, and therefore couldn’t make any promises of any kind regarding the genetics.  It will take many more crosses with different pairings, and counting of all the offspring that result, to help determine with some certainty exactly how the Lightning gene works.  I’m going to guess that it will take another 3-4 years before we have that answer.

- Followup – not even 12 hours later, I’ve answered this exact question at least a half dozen more times today, and seen at least one internet post from someone who stated that the Lightning trait is “recessive” (which while possible, is in my opinion highly unlikely and absolutely something we cannot know at this point…the data we have doesn’t exclude or point to any one option).