Since 2011 we have started our first research into the genetics of African Pygmy Hedgehogs. Starting with collecting information about our own hedgehogs and later keeping track of hedgehogs and nests from different breeders, we came up with an essential foundation to work on further. Saving the data in Excel and developing lists of hedgehogs per breeder, adjusting their genetic code sequence after each litter until the calculation method was perfected, and calculations could effectively predict the results of the litter. This is the method that was used until about 2018. Since then, all pedigrees are colected through THP Registry as being the only current global pedigree registration platform for African Pygmy Hedgehogs and other species of hedgehogs and tenrecs in captivity.
The research started in Europe and gradually gained the interest of various breeders. In 2017, we started to focus more internationally with the research, tracking litters of American and African breeders on top of European breeders. To keep track of all the different information, we have developed a different system to store all the information that comes our way; THP Registry. With the availability of an international pedigree registration platform, it became a lot easier to receive, save and track the progress of the research, as well as a lot easier to prove to the community with more insight into their lineage.
Since there is no genome sequencing for Atelerix albiventris, we had to base the entire research on digital data and pedigree tracking. Using ancient research methods, such as Mendelian inheritance and Punnett square, it took us nine years to fully investigate the genetic variations within the captive species' population. This is from 2011 to 2020 when the investigation was closed. While we will keep genetics within the species for the long term due to population evolution and the emergence of new mutations, the foundation for the genetic research has been successfully completed and we are currently writing the research paper and hope it will be published research in the coming year 2021/2022.
During our research, we published a small number of abstracts on Academia. These summaries provide a small insight into the research data and conclusions for the basic mutations, but are not a good representation of the entire research. In the event that a journal does not allow our research paper to be published, we use Academia to publish the research as an Open Source paper.
|Wild type color in Atelerix albiventris||August 11, 2017||Academia|
|Melanism in Atelerix albiventris||September 9, 2017||Academia|
|Dilution in Atelerix albiventris||November 24, 2017||Academia|
|Brown dilute in Atelerix albiventris||December 1, 2017||Academia|
|Albinism in Atelerix albiventris||December 28 2017||Academia|
|Pink eyed dilute in Atelerix albiventris||March 2, 2018||Academia|
|Piebald in Atelerix albiventris||May 8, 2018||Academia|
Using both of the aforementioned methods, we have collected a total of more than 10,000 pedigrees of African pygmy hedgehogs. In the first years, about 3000 family trees are collected and stored in Excel data tables. The remaining 7,000 pedigrees can be found on THP Registry, which should still be an international studbook registration platform to collect information for our other studies, to continue researching new mutations over the long term, and to give breeders more insight into their pedigree.
Genetics in other species
After researching genetics in African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris), we are currently setting up research on Long-eared hedgehogs (Hemiechinus auritus). However, this takes a lot of time and preparation. In the future we will make an extra overview for this.