Splitting the Silvering from the Self Gene (Black) in the Campbells
When the black gene showed up in the dwarves, the hamsters were not the same jet black color as they were in the syrians.  The most striking difference is that the black dwarves silver – or go gray – with age.  Some show silvering when they first get their color.  Others don’t show silvering until months later.  All except some of the black mottleds have silvered with age (see my other page with silvering in the blacks for more detail).

It is not known whether silvering is part of the black gene or a separate but closely linked gene.  The fact that some mottleds do not silver has lead people to suspect that they are two separate genes.  It is also supposed that silvering is recessive just from its behavior.  Once it is proven whether the silvering is a separate gene or part of the black gene, we can move to standardize the color in the dwarves.

I have kept the Platinum gene totally out of my black lines since I want to work with silvering, and the Platinum can easily be confused with silvering.  I have never had any Platinums show up in these lines either.  Since Platinum is dominant and can’t be carried, I was secure in the fact that the black lines I imported did not have Platinum.

Well, in early October of 2000, I had a Platinum-looking baby show up in these lines.  He appears to be an Argente.  The mother is a third generation female out of these lines.  The father is a second generation hamster.  Here is a picture of him as a baby with his Beige brother and RE Lilac sister plus a picture when he's two and a half months old..
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The thought is that he may be a silvering agouti proving that silvering can be split from the Black gene.  I decided to pair him to an unpatterned Blue Fawn from a line with no Black in it.  It is believed that silvering is probably recessive so I was surprised to get three babies in the litter with white.  One appears to have the white collar typical of Mottleds but not necessarily atypical of silvereds.  The other two with white have the classic white on the shoulders typical of silvered but also possible on Mottleds.  The Blue Fawn mother that I paired to the potentially silvering Argente had a mottled mother.  The possibility exists that she is really mottled without any noticeable white.  Of course the babies could also be silvered – and a couple really do look silvered.  The next litter only had one with white, and it was the white on the shoulders.  So there is some doubt as to whether these babies with white are mottled or silvered.  Here are some pictures of the first litter.  There are seven in the litter – three with white and four without white.
To resolve this ambiguity, the pair has been split.  The potentially silvering Argente male is now with two Moscow-colored females.  There is no Platinum, Mottling, or silvering in this line.  This should lead to unambiguous results.  The results of this trio is on Page 2.

If you have any thoughts or ideas on this research, please e-mail me at
Potentially Sivering Argente with Sibling
Potentially Silvering Argente with Siblings
Potentially Silvering Argente Male
Litter From Potentially Silvering Argente
Litter from Potentially Silvering Argente