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Koi vs Marble Betta

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Marble vs Koi betta







Before you start on this post grab a chair, open your mind to all possibility’s and some might need to lite one up and get a cold one ready, this will blow your mind and show you why World Bettas is at the forefront of Koi breeding in 2018.

Marble and Koi are for sure not the same and galaxy are not koi either. Iridescent scales make the galaxy (trade name) because the breeders of the first galaxy marbles thought the scattered iridescent scales looked like a galaxy of stars in the night sky or so the story goes. Genetically speaking, today most fancy and marble probably carry marble genes thus will go through color changes through out the life of the fish. Since marbles are unpredictable, patterns may also change. and with USA and Europe standards so messed up and so many standards are far apart and incorrect people think marble are koi.

Koi bettas or true Koi bettas will not change color or pattern after a cretin time in there life. the color and the pattern will look almost the same at 1 year as it did at 3 months. Sure the color will fade a little or the pattern will not be as sharp but it will be very close to the 3-5 month pattern you saw when  the fish was younger. On a marble Koi (only looks like a koi for a time) the fish might not even look like a Koi when older and some turn to just patches of red shades.  Although with today’s standards both at 6 months would be judged as Koi and the owner of the marble that looked like a Koi would have a new fish after a year or so that might not even look like a Koi.

One of the items overlooked when evaluating a true Koi betta is the quality of the base color of the fish. Today most judging on Koi bettas is a little flawed, fish that have lots of color and patterns are some times winners but, fish with better coloration bases and sharper patterns on older fish are some times over looked because older fish do not always have better fins and body’s when compared to 6-8 month old fish that can look like koi for a time but are not.

It takes an open mind to make standards and a willing mind set to see the worlds genetic picture not just your own you produce for your own group or your own shows.

So, lets get into my idea of what is going on with marbles vs Koi and show the science behind it.

Koi bettas are a strain of marbling that retains the look of a koi goldfish longer, one because the jumping gene that makes marbling turns off or slows down at some point in the life of the betta and does not continue to change over the life time of the betta and second the fry do not develop the same as marbles as they show the koi pattern at a much earlier age.

Over the years we have done some genetic research and controlled breeding of known genetics and there are some interesting points.

The key might be in single-strand binding proteins (SSBs) that stabilize the separated strands and prevent them from rejoining in the betta model it would cause marbling effect. On the other hand, HK, TS and SSB should all be considered.

There might be a break in the chain causing the DNA pairs to not split and bind but research is slow on bettas…..This would for sure have an impact on SNP density…..

The one question that is always in the back of my mind is could this real Koi also just a genetic drift? This idea would account for its koi pattern and not changing later with old age like marbles do. It would cause a new population to be genetically distinct from its original population IE the marbles.

This has led me to believe the hypothesis that genetic drift from breeding or physical environment plays a real role in the evolution of new betta types. If you sit back and think about it you could see this to be very realistic, as we breed so fast now days. In nature it take hundreds or thousands of years to do what we as breeders can do in 6 months….Take that number and x’s it by 8 to 10 years and you have millions on new genetics added to bettas every year..

One very interesting idea we are thinking about is, could the change from marble that look like Koi to true Koi be a retro-virus left over from a survivor in captive breeding….

Retroviruses are classified in a group of RNA viruses called RNA tumor viruses. They are called “retro” because they only have an RNA genome and function differently than other viruses.  In most viruses, DNA is transcribed (or written) into RNA, then RNA is translated into protein. Retroviruses, on the other hand, work differently.  A retrovirus works by reverse transcribing, that is “writing backwards” into DNA by using an enzyme only retroviruses encode called, “Reverse Transcriptase” (RT). The DNA form of the virus is called a provirus. The provirus is then inserted into the DNA of the host using another enzyme encoded exclusively by retroviruses called “Integrase”. (IN). Integrase cuts open the DNA and then pastes the provirus into the cellular DNA where the provirus lives for the life of the cell.

In addition to RT and IN, retroviruses encode a few other key genes important to make a virus particle called a virion. The envelope gene called env and gag encode the proteins that form an envelope and capsid, which surrounds the RNA genome. The RNA genomes of retroviruses are between seven and twelve thousand bases (7-12 kilobases, kb). The human genome contains approximately three billion base pairs. (RNA is single stranded, while DNA is double stranded, hence “base pairs.”)

So, let put some science behind my virus theory as I am the first Todd Scire describe this in bettas.

The rise of the mammals may be feel like a familiar tale, but there’s a twist you likely don’t know about: If it wasn’t for a virus, it might not have happened at all.

One of the few survivors of the asteroid impact 65 million years ago was a small, furry, shrew-like creature that lived in underground burrows and only ventured out at night, when predators weren’t active. The critter—already the product of some 100 million years of evolution—looked like a modern mammal, with body hair and mammary glands, except for one tiny detail: according to a recent genetic study, it didn’t have a placenta. And its kind might never have evolved one if not for a chance encounter with a retrovirus.

Unlike most viruses, which infect, replicate, and then leave their host, retroviruses elbow their way into their host’s genome where they are copied and passed on to daughter cells for the life of the host. This retrovirus, however, managed to sneak its way into one of our ancestor’s sperm or egg cells, able to be passed on to every cell in every subsequent generation. Virus and host had become one.

The viral DNA used its own genes to copy itself, inserting those copies elsewhere in the host’s genome. These copies could be expressed in different parts of the body at different points in time, a symbiotic relationship that gave the shrew some extra raw materials with which to develop new functions.

“Viral proteins already have functions. It’s much easier to borrow these than to evolve them from scratch,” says Aris Katzourakis, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford.

In that would-be mammal living 160 million years ago, a symbiotic retrovirus enabled it to evolve a placenta over many generations. In order to let a fetus mature inside a mother’s uterus, an animal needed a way to provide oxygen and nutrients while removing waste and keeping both blood supplies separate.

Early mammals used the spare viral parts left in the junk drawers of the genome to use a viral gene to help create the placenta, and other symbiotic viruses help turn us from a ball of cells into a fully-formed squalling infant and protect us from pathogens.

Scientists are discovering that the so-called “junk DNA”—a significant portion of which is from symbiotic viruses—is actually a potent force in the evolution of new species. Although the evolution of pregnancy via the placenta might be some of the most persuasive evidence that viruses stashed deep within the genome can help give rise to new species, it’s not the only proof. New studies revealing the role of endogenous retroviruses in the more recent evolution of humans show that these snippets of DNA are helping to blur the boundary between human and virus. Humans are, in a very real sense, part virus.

At numerous points in animal evolution, symbiotic retroviruses entered the genome and steered different groups of animals along different evolutionary paths and this could be just what has happened with the koi betta vs the marble. Without retroviruses, mammals might never have evolved placentas.

HERV-K may also have played an important role in separating some of the first humans from their primate ancestors by making small adjustments in when certain genes were switched on or off, according to Reijo Pera’s research.

At numerous points in mammalian evolution, symbiotic retroviruses entered the genome and steered different groups of mammals along different evolutionary paths, according to a 2012 paper in PNAS by virologist Harmit Malik at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

So, could have a retrovirus  have entered the genome on Koi betta at some point during breeding in a female producing eggs or in a male when he was fertilizing some eggs or in a batch of fry. Is interesting to think this might be the cause of true Koi and not genetic drift or “jumping gene”.

Humans share 21% of there DNA with zebra fish just for a fun fact!

I am sure with more and more koi breeders now days and Koi being the most sought after betta type ever, they will now update their info after they see some corrected info from breeders and Koi keeper. IBC or International Betta Congress seems to be the best for new standards in 2018. Lots of smart minds over there that have been at this as long or longer than I have. Though I am not a member I probably should be again.  But, every one knows how I feel about some show people and groups. But that is not a very good excuse to not join the best betta society out there. There is good and bad in all betta groups. Any way, check out the info and if there is a reason anyone thinks we should update the variations let us know on the WorldBetas Forum or by PM…..Hope everyone finds this a good read!

So, the variations are a s follows

Red/Black (red base)
Red/Black (white base)
Red (white base)
Black (white base)

Galaxy Koi (note: marbles)
Red/Black/Blue (celo based)
Red/Black/Blue (white based)
Red/blue (white based)
Red/Blue/black (celo based)

Yellow Galaxy Koi (note: marbles)
Yellow/Blue (white based)
Yellow/Black/Blue (celo based)
Yellow/Black/Blue (white based)
Yellow/Blue (red based)

Yellow Koi
Red/Yellow/Black (white based)
Red/Yellow/Black (celo based)
Red/Yellow (white based)
Yellow (white based
Yellow/Black (celo based)
Yellow/black (whire based)

Emerald koi
Red/Yellow/Black/Orange (white based)
Red/Yellow/Black/Orange (celo based)
Red/Yellow/Orange (white based)
Yellow/Orange/Black (white based)
Yellow/Black/Orange (celo based)
Yellow/black/Orange/Blue (celo based)

New Emerald is now Yellow/Orange/Black/Blue and dragon scale) it is celo based for now!


So a little over view for you to look at in case all the other stuff was to much.

What makes a Koi bettas a Galaxy is the showing of excessive blue coloration with the koi coloration and scattered iridescent scales.

What makes a Tiger koi (Europe) a Tiger is because it features an excessive amount of either yellow or red and features minimal white with black ‘stripes’ or Black splotches/spotting.

A normal koi will show an even amount of red/black/white/orange/yellow typically having more white amounted to red, orange, black or yellow with the black, orange, yellow or red overlapping at some points but not excessively. Top and sides should all be evenly patched. Judged by side and top down. Patterns on the top only or on the side only are marbles and will change a lot with age.

Breeding a marble to a marble give you marbles 100% and breeding a koi to a marble give you marbles 100% but a koi to a koi will give 90% koi on F1. 10% will have a marble gene that will not turn off or will turn off slow leaving a marble in the end. The koi’s will not change much after 8 months to 1 year and what you see is what you get. Judging a young marble as a koi is just lack of knowledge. The minimum age for judging a koi should be 1 year as it will weed out the marbles. Lots of young marbles look like koi only to become ugly reds or washed out blues when older. Remember to give credit where credit is due if you use our info again.

*The red in all of this could be replaced with orange and still be considered a koi betta

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