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Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Foal Born to Mule Mare in 2007 

had Unusual Genetics

 

 

October 2013 issue  

 

Kule Mule and his dam, Kate. Photo by Laura Amos.

 

     RMR reported on a colt born in 2007 in Colorado to a mare mule named Kate. Tests performed by the University of Kentucky and University of California proved that the male foal was the offspring of Kate, a mare mule. Further testing on the presumed father, a donkey jack, were never performed.

     There are no records of john mules being fertile, as they are gelded at an early age.

     The foal was named Winterhawk’s Kule Mule Amos in a naming contest, in honor of his owners, Larry and Laura Amos, who own Winterhawk Outfitters in Collbran , Colorado .

     Kule Mule had a slight malformation in his legs caused by a case of bilateral flexural and angular joint laxity of his pasterns – commonly called windswept pasterns. This did not keep him from standing and nursing as a foal. The windswept pasterns may have helped lead to his death in 2010 from a fall on icy ground during a winter storm. He was never used in a pack string due to his leg problems, although Kate has been put back to work.

     The Amoses had purchased Kate in Arkansas , where she had presumably been bred by the donkey.

     As a hybrid offspring of a horse mare with 64 chromosomes and a donkey jack with 62 chromosomes, mare mules have 63 chromosomes, an uneven number that usually cannot be split evenly to produce a fertile egg. However, mare mules can occasionally produce mosaic eggs that contain an even number of chromosomes, and those eggs can be fertile.

     A mare mule in Nebraska in the 1980s gave birth twice to foals fathered by her own sire, a donkey. DNA tests showed that the mare had passed along no genetic markers from the father, a phenomenon known as “hemiclonal transmission,” which has been studied in amphibians but not mammals. The mare’s genes had canceled out the male’s genes as if they didn’t exist.

     Kate passed over a complete set of her genes to her foal. His genome included 63 chromosomes and cells of 64 chromosomes. Because he also had no genes from his father, Kule Mule was a mule like his mother (and not 3/4 donkey).

 

     A spokesperson for the Amoses says that Kate is working at back country hunting camps and would probably not be bred again.

 

 

Copyright 2013 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

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