The Bulls

The Cows

  • PDCA Unified Scorecard
  • Please use Holstein USA as your classification source. You can find more information on classification here!

Wild Gene

In genetic testing for red, it has been traditional to label animals testing E+ as "wild gene" and black-red. The normal red gene is e and is labeled red or true Red. However, a number of Red cow families (Cherrys, Scarlets, Hickorymea) have tested E+ and have been labelled BR. While these animals do carry the wild gene (E+), they produce red in all cases.

It has now been determined that E+ can be associated with either black-red, as it usually is, or in some cases, true red. Cloverlands Skyler Cherry-Red and Granduc Jaromir-Red are both E+e. Both are true red in color and in transmission to their offspring. Therefore, labs testing for red should not automatically label animals with E+ as black-reds, but simply wild gene. Logically, additional genetic information not being tested for should clarify the difference between the usual E+ (black-red) and the unusual E+ (red).

Mutant Gene

By John Carpenter


On October 21, 1980 a Red & White daughter of Puget-Sound Sheik was born in the herd of John & Greta Van Ravenswaay, Wellandport, Ontario, Canada. Sheik was a well-known Black & White sire that did not carry red, so naturally Holstein Canada questioned and did a number of genetic tests to confirm parentage. The results were conclusive - the cow who came to be known as Surinam Sheik Rosabel-Red was indeed a true red daughter of a Black & White (BB) bull!

Rosabel was flushed a number of times and produced sons that saw AI service, including Surinam Treasure-Red *BC, (by Bridon Astro Jet) at Semex and Surinam Trazarra-ET-Red *BC (by Agro Acres Marquis Ned) at Trans-World Genetics. A very surprising "effect" was noted in many Red descendants of Rosabel, both male and female - they could produce Red & White offspring when mated to Black & White (BB) and Black & White offspring when mated to Red & White (rr).

The phenomenon was dubbed "The Rosabel Effect" by Dr. H. van Haeringen of The Netherlands, who did detailed research on the effect and put forward a theory to explain it. His research was based mainly on the use of Trazarra-Red (Marquis Ned x Rosabel) on the Red population in his country. His study was published in the March, 1991 Issue of The Red Bloodlines under the heading, "Red x Red is Not Always Red".

However, no noteworthy sires developed from the family and the female line faded from notice. There was little interest in this odd color transmission through the late '90s and into the new century until now.


Today, a young bull is available from Genervations in Canada that once again draws attention to this unusual color factor. His name is Islehaven Champions Mutant-Red *BC. He is by the well-known Rudolph son, Calbrett-I H H Champion, a respected former #1 LPI sire in Canada that does not carry red.

Islehaven Champions Mutant-Red *BC
250HO0844 8360683 aAa: N/A
2-05 Can Breeding Values: -368M -14F -12P (kg) Conformation +6

Sire: Calbrett-I H H Champion-ET

Dam: Hazelholme Damsel-Red (VG-87 3*)
9-08 365d 30,375 3.7% 1131 3.2% 972
Lifetime: 157,009 3.9% 6129 3.3% 5245

MGS: Surinam Treasure-Red *BC
2nd Dam: Hazelholme Daisy-Red (VG 1*)
5-07 267d 13,999 4.4% 615 3.5% 485
MGGS: Romandale Regal-Red
3rd Dam: Hazelwood Dana (VG 2*)
Lifetime: 141,804 3.6% 3.6% 5106 3.2% 3488
MGGGS: Hanover-Hill Triple Threat
4th Dam: VG-86 Pontiac Chieftain
5th Dam: EX 5* Marquis Ned
6th Dam: EX

Genetic testing of Mutant has determined that he is heterozygous for coat color with both Black (B) and the recessive red (r). He obviously inherited black from Champion and red from his dam, a VG-87 3* daughter of Surinam Treasure-Red *BC. His second dam, Hazelholme Daisy-Red (VG-85 1*), was a Romandale Regal-Red daughter who provided true red (r). From his red color, it is clear Mutant is also the recipient of the 'Rosabel Effect’ inherited from Treasure, Rosabel’s son. Mutant has been well promoted and widely distributed by Genervations as a bull with a unique genetic color. It is one that can "cut both ways" for Red breeders by producing both Red calves from homozygous black dams (BB) 50% of the time, but also black calves from homozygous red (rr) dams 25% of the time.


Based on a great deal of research, both coat color of offspring from members of the family (especially Treasure and Trazarra) and genetic testing (most notably by Danny Hulton, the breeder of Mutant) the following is known: Mutant’s traditional color make-up is Br but he clearly carries another color factor at a different location. This factor is expressed as red coat color, despite the presence of black. . . the Rosabel Effect. Both Rosabel and Treasure have been DNA-tested and proven to be homozygous black (BB).

This is very important since the earlier theory assumed a red gene (r) was required in combination with this new factor (which I am labelling simply R), in order for the offspring to be red.

We know that red animals descending from these lines can produce a black calf in later generations, even if mated to true red. Likewise, any time a black animal results, this new factor (R) is no longer present. Another important fact is that the red offspring from this breeding can, according to Genetic Visions, be tested for black. This would allow a breeder to know if a "hidden" black gene was present. At this time, testing Red animals for the "Rosabel Red" is not possible.


Based on this working theory, here is what we "think" will occur when Mutant (Br/R) is mated to Red, red factor and black cows. He will offer 4 possibilities, each transmitted at random 25% of the time [B (black), r (recessive red), B/R (black + dominant Red), r/R (recessive red + dominant red]. The "R" factor is apparently transmitted 50% of the time. Granted, genetic research which is ongoing may provide a different and, quite possibly, more complex explanation. For now, this is a prediction based on a lot of research. It should be very useful in predicting results in the field, if not "genetically correct". Note: Diagrams provided in March 2005 Issue of The Red Bloodlines.


There remains a lot of debate about the positive or negative value of this color factor for red breeders. Introduction of this factor into your herd, like all breeding decisions, is in your hands, where it belongs. The RWDCA strives to provide you with the information to make informed choices.

In addition, there is a question about the actual color resulting from this "Rosabel Red". Some of these red animals remain true red. Others, perhaps bulls more frequently, become partly black with age, particularly around the head and neck. This is not to be confused in any way with black-red color, which is located at the usual genetic site.

Do these animals with 1 or 2 black genes have more tendency to "blacken"? Do bulls have more tendency to "blacken"? These questions will be answered in time, just as the exact genetic factor(s) producing this color should be located and fully explained.


Most of the credit for information presented here belongs to others: mainly, Danny Hulton but also Dr. van Haeringen, Maurice Leduc of Quebec, Fred Hendricks of SunShower, Louis Prange of Trans-World Genetics and others.


A bull sampled in the U.S., Maple-Vane Surprise-Red *BC, produced similar results in the '80s. More recently, his grandson, Sunset-Acres Zeus P-Red-TW *BC, has done the same. Surprise was a red Cypress-Hill Laban (BB) son, and apparently not related to Rosabel. Both these bulls sampled by SunShower.