Gerbil Genetic


The genetic rules don't change. It's always the same thing, like the sex gene seen on the previous page. Each parent gives on allele to the baby. You'll see on this page, the explanation for the fur colours mutations.



The gerbil hairs are composed of 3 different pigments. At the bottom, there is gray, in the middle, the yellow/orange and the tip of the hair is black. Those 3 colours put together produce a brown gerbil known as Agouti. The mutation change how those pigments are produce in the gerbil fur. This is what causes the different gerbil colours. 


I don't know exactly how the mutation changes each pigment but the illustrations might help you to understand. They are not scientifically accurate but will help!



The genes

The choice of the letter and their scientific meaning


The letter used to write the phenotype(the code) of a gerbil is usually the first letter from the dominant phenotype of the gene. But, each time a new mutation is discovered about the same trait (in our case, the color) they had to use the recesive phenotype to name the mutation. 



A = Agouti or non-Agouti

Being the first mutation observed, the normal or dominant colour for this gene is Agouti; the wild colour. Even if the recessive form of the gene is Black. Gerbilís genetic enthusiasts may speak about the "black gene" instead of the "agouti gene". Some may also speak about the "non-agouti gene".

C = Color or coloration  

In the genentic world, this code is used to speak about albino colors(totally white). So, the dominant or normal color for the gene is "with color". Until now, there is no REAL albino gerbil discovered. So no "cc" gerbils possible. 


c[h] = Himalayan  

This mutation is found on the same chromosome then the one responsible for Albino color. So, a [h]  is added next to the main "c" 

c[chm] = Chinchilla medium 

This one is also found on the same chromosome then the Himalayen gene.

c[b] = Burmese The Chinchilla medium gene was formaly known under this name. But the burmese color is not representative of the real color of the c[chm] gene alone but from the combination with the Agouti gene, "aa". Since 2001, c[chm] took the place of c[b] even if some peoples still use it.

D = Dilution


E = Extension of yellow


ef= Extension of yellow fading 


G = Gris


P = Pink Eyes 


Sp = Spoted 




 The defenition of the different mutations 


Agouti (aa)

 This gene commands how the pigments will behave on the gerbil's hairs. The mutation makes the base pigment cover the entire hair. In the gerbil case, the first pigment to grow, is the black one giving a totally black gerbil. Some white marks will remain under the chin and on the front paws. 


AA : No change, it's an agouti gerbil.

Aa : No change, it's an agouti gerbil.

aa : A black gerbil.



Color : Himalayan c(h] and  Chinchilla medium  c[chm]

This gene is temperature dependant. This means that colder the temperature is, weaker will be the lighting and darker will be the color. In hotter temperature, the gerbil color will be lighter. You must wait the molt to see the changes.

c[h] : This gene commands the general color intensity in the hair. It behaves in a different way depending of the other genes present in the gerbils. With "pp" and "ee" it can show with only one recessive allele present. It also lightens the eyes.

CC : No change.

Cc[h] : No change. 

c[h]c[h] : A Himalyan gerbil, totally white with a dark tail.

Cc[h] + pp : Argente Cream: the ch lighten the normal Argente golden color.

c[h]c[h] + pp : A white gerbil with pink eyes.





c[chm] : This gene commands the color intensity in the hair but in a different way then the previous one. The c[chm] gene light up the color in the centre of the animal, keeping the extremities darker. 


CC : No change.

Cc[chm] : No change.

c[chm]c[chm] : Colorpoint Agouti or Chinchilla Medium

c[chm]c[h] : Light Colorpoint Agouti or Light Chinchilla Medium 


Dilution (dd)

This is still pretty new. We doesn't yet know how it works. We usually don't use it in gerbil genetic here in America because we have few chances to see one, one day! This color been discovered in Germany where only few breeders keep them.  


DD : No change.

Dd : No change.

dd : Diluted Agouti.

dd + aa : Blue. 

Extension of yellow (ee) and Extension of yellow fading (efef)

 This gene tells how much yellow/orange there will be in the hairs. The eye color won't change. This gene is very sensitive to spotted and lighting gene like c[h] or c[chm].


ee : When this gene is present, the color will become more yellow removing in parts the black pigments.

EE : No change.

Ee : No change.

ee : Dark Eye Honey




efef : For efef, it as the same effect on the yellow and black proportion but the yellow/orange coloration will fade drasticly once the gerbil is 2 months old. 


EE : No change.

Eef : No change.

efef : Schimmel

eef : Dark Eyed Honey, but with less black ticking.

Gray (gg)

 This gene remove all the yellow pigments. 


GG : No change.

Gg : No change.

gg : Gray Agouti




Pink eyes (pp)

 This gene romove the black pigment. It also lights up the general color of the gerbil. The gray stays present.


PP : No change.

Pp : No change.

pp : Argente Golden





Spotted (Sp) The exeption that confirms the rule!

This gene is a dominant gene. This means that the mutation is dominant. Being spoted is dominant. 


spsp : No change.

Spsp :  A spotted gerbil.

SpSp : Impossible, the 2 dominant gene will create a weak and deadly combination in the baby. This situation will denie the growth of the baby. Don't worry, the baby won't die, it just won't be ever really created and absorbed by the mother. 


In this case, when a parent is spoted, you can be sure that 50% of the babies produced will be spotted. If both parents are spotted, there will be 66% of the babies will be spoted.

(1/4 non-spoted, 1/4 reabsorbed, 2/4 spotted) If you count only the ones who live, you got 2/3 who will be spoted, then 66%  


If both parents are non-spotted, all babies will be non-spotted.

A Non-spoted gerbil cannot carry the spotted gene.


To simplify the genetic writing, wrote only Sp at the end of the genotype.


The gerbil Genetics Calculator

I hope you begin to understand a little how works genetics. 

Here is a gerbil calculator that allow you to predict the colors of the babies when you know the genetic of the parents.


You can downloader it here



Advice: When you don't know for sure if a parent carry a recessive gene, write the 2 Capital letters, don't use the (-) 


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