What are COI’s in sugar gliders in layman terms.
I have had many questions about COI. This is a term used in breeding for “co efficiency of inbreeding” in DOGS. It measures common ancestors of dams and sires and indicates the probability of how genetically similar they are.
The database used for sugar gliders that many breeders use, is a program made for dogs, thus the COI comes into play now for our sugar gliders.
There are consequences to being genetically similar, some good, some bad. The fact that dogs within individual breeds are so genetically similar is what makes them that breed- and why , if you breed any Labrador to any other Labrador, the puppies will look recognizably like Labradors.
COI’s are much more than looking at the parents. COI’s track how related dogs/gliders are further back in pedigree. Inbreeding will help to cement GOOD traits, but there is a danger of it also cementing bad ones. So, it can cause a rapid build of disease genes in population.
A study was done in poodles where the COI was 6.25% , lived 4 more years than those over 25%.
Nothing in genetics is inevitable, there are examples out there of very inbred populations ( even in gliders ) that appear to be pretty healthy and whose fertility has not been affected.
While a low COI does not guarantee a healthy puppy/joey, a high COI should definitely be a cause for concern.
A low COI shows that a breeder is trying to follow good breeding practices.
COI’s are not the be-all and end-all of a dog/glider. It is just one measure, so, don’t freak out if COI is 30%. Also a COI of 1% does NOT guarantee good health and fitness, but chances of having an inherited double dose of defective genes is far less. Keep in mind this is for dogs.
COI’s are updated by breed annually in dogs. I do not know if they are updated on sugar glider database.
Todays emphasis should be placed on health and temperament. Active concern for the HEALTH should be your number one goal. Without health, you have no animal.
So what is a breeder to do? We are not breeding for numbers and many factors other than COI’s need to be considered when planning a mating. Even so, when ever possible you should try and achieve COI’s at or below the average COI of the two parents. Example: if a sire/male is at 20% and the dam/female is 10% , you want a pup/joey at 15% or lower.