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What is artificial selection?

Artficial selection refers to the process of breeding animals or plants with the intention of getting desired and wanted traits or characteristics. The point of artificial selection does not deal with increasing the chances of survival for the new produce or offspring but rather only the good traits are desired to be present in them. An animal with known good behavior for example may be bred with another animal having similar behavior hoping that the offspring will also have the same type of mild behavior. This process involves manual selection of which animals or plants to breed and this why many people also refer to artificial selection as selective breeding.

The domestication of dogs is considered one of the classic examples of artificial selection. Dogs have evolved a long way from its wild gray wolves ancestors. Different types of dogs were interbred and selectively bred over thousands of years to produce puppies with different desirable traits. Some are bred to have thick fur coats while others are chosen for their specific skills and behavior. In the case of plants, there are also varieties of vegetables for example that were actually genetically modified to improve their quality. Broccoli and cabbage for example were grown and breed along with wild mustard to get the desired outcome. As for broccoli, flower development is stunted and suppressed in the artificial selection process while cabbages were grown to have the right intermode length.

Many people and various groups have opposed many techniques used in artificial selection. Records have shown that breeding animals and plants selectively also have its disadvantages. Some artificial breeding or selection techniques have caused health issues to subject animals. Some cows for example that were artificially bred to increase milk production were said to suffer easily from infections. There are also concerns with regards to the safety of plants that underwent an artificial selection technique or process.

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Posted by on Nov 5th, 2014 and filed under Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.