How close is too close? Related-wise. Or how far removed is okay?


Established Member
So i'm wanting to breed my boys in the future and I've been kind of scouting for a suitable girlfriend. I had wanted a baby or young girl we could raise up ourselves. I'm not in a hurry really except for one nagging thing - a fear in the back of my mind is a fear that something unfortunate might happen to my wonderful guy before he's had a chance to make me a grandcham to replace him.
Anyways, so that's the backstory behind why I started wondering about this.

So first off, I'm in Canada. Chameleons are slimmer pickins here to begin with. Then you get into what kind of chameleons I have - mitsio and faly. Even slimmer pickins.
So then even when you do see hey someone else has a faly - surprise, they got theirs from the same place as me, often from the same parents. Same thing happened with mitsio.
So that got me wondering - I've searched through a few threads on inbreeding and stuff, but there's really nothing specific about you know how far removed is safe enough.
So for starters, is siblings from the same clutch? Or from the same parent
pairing period? I mean yes they have the same parents, but perhaps different sets of eggs carry slightly different enough DNA to change which features/problems will emerge??
And then, you know, if it's diluted a bit more from there, as far as say well i'll use this example - someone's Raiden/Nala male then bred to completely unrelated female. Then one of those babies bred to my Raiden/Nala male from a different clutch than the original male. So in that case it would kind of be a different clutch uncle to niece pairing, I guess? I mean I don't like the idea of inbreeding ideally, but usually youre thinking of it as sibling to sibling or dad to daughter or something. If there's another bloodline introduced in the middle,
and from a different clutch, is it still that bad,
genetically speaking?
Sorry if its obvious to you but not to me, It feels like about a million years
since that biology class where I learned about recessive and dominant and whatnot.
So I mean there's situations like that which have come up, where it's not direct, but still related. I predict that in the future there'll be more situations like this where everything's kind of stemming from Raiden say, and maybe the source won't even know - like they might know the parents names, but if you don't know that parents parents... You would end up inbreeding to a niece for example. Sometimes on breeders sites they don't even list one of the parents, they'll just list the sire maybe, so then you really really don't know.
So I mean, the canadian market is pretty small it seems if not ambilobe or nosy be, and the risk of getting a mitsio or even a faly somehow related will likely be high in the future. I guess what I'm saying is do I really
need to be as paranoid as I'm being? As long as i know for sure it's not direct, and there's at least 50% like one bloodline's dilution, is that removed enough to be safe?
I mean don't bash me, i havent done anything yet, and im not saying i dont care, i wouldnt be worried about it at all if i didnt care. I'm just asking to know the facts involved.
And then in the future, I wouldn't plan on re-breeding that lineage back in again on purpose of course, hopefully we'll have had some imports come back in by then, but still again, if someone didn't know somewhere down the line,
and then it happened again another generation down, so that would be at least two other bloodlines in, right? but still all somehow connecting back to the same Raiden branch for ex. Two generations down would be maybe at least 4 new bloodlines in..? I need a diagram. Lol.
So, yeah. Tell me.
Where is it removed enough to not be doing wrong??


Established Member
Okay sorry. Too detailed, or not detailed enough? Lol.
I guess I kind of get babbly when I'm trying to describe something in general theory rather than a specific problem. That's why I tried the example.
I'm asking, when worrying about the possibility of inbreeding, what relationship is too close? Or better yet far enough diluted from your parent's direct bloodline to be okay to pair with? I gave a "uncle to niece" example (with the uncle being from the same parents but different clutch than the niece's father)
Get my question better now?

Chris Jury

New Member
Generally speaking, by the time you get to second cousins (assuming other couplings are between unrelated individuals) or further you are getting pretty close to the level of genetic variation you might expect from the population at large, i.e., close to unrelated individuals. At the level of cousins and closer you are a markedly higher chance of incurring problems related to inbreeding. Second cousins involves five 'steps' in a family tree (about 3.125% shared genetic info between them), whereas cousins only involves three steps (about 12.5% shared). Uncle to niece is two steps (about 25% shared). It's much better than sibling crosses or parent-offspring crosses (one step, about 50%), but there is definitely a higher chance of problems related to inbreeding than with a random, unrelated individual.

It's all a game of odds, and the odds that two individuals are both going to have the same recessive alleles for some deleterious phenotype. The more distantly related the two members of a pairing, the lower the chances that they will both be carriers of the same nasty alleles. If you can find an individual that is no closer than second cousin, that would be preferable. However, if an uncle-niece pairing is the most distantly related pairing possible, then it is what it is.

Siblings are from the same parents. The clutch they hatched from is totally irrelevant. All offspring from a particular pairing get 1/2 their genome from the father and 1/2 from the mother, regardless of when they were produced, therefore all siblings share about 50% of their genetic information.

Hope that helps,



Chameleon Enthusiast
unrelated is best, but if not possible then Cousin is about as close as I would go, personally.
You may be able to import from the USA, if you're getting more than three from a shipper that already has all the CITES paperwork, its not too cost prohibitive.
There's a fella, Brok, in BC here that is selling Mitsos and maybe they are unrelated to yours?
keep trying! Would be nice to see more of these animals available in our market.
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