Humans Have Deliberately Shaped the Genetics of Living Things for Thousands of Years
by Jordan Banks, age 14
Did you know that many different types of animals and the food you eat are affected by artificial selection? The meat you consume and maybe even your household pet are the products of centuries or even millennia artificial selection.
The definition of artificial selection is 'breeding to produce desired characteristics in animal or plant offspring.' Natural selection, in contrast, is when an organism independently adapts to their environment to survive. Humans cause artificial selection when they mold the organisms to what people desire.
Many animals are a product of artificial selection. For example, dogs go through artificial selection by dog breeding. The dog originally comes from the wolf, but with thousands of years of breeding we have many different types of dogs. Today we have dogs such as goldendoodles and french bulldogs, both of which were artificially selected.
Plants, fruits and vegetables also go through artificial selection. In fact, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are all the result of the selective breeding of the wild mustard plant.
Many of the animals and plants that we see everyday have changed over time due to natural or artificial selection. It is from both natural and artificial selection that we have the abundance of diverse plants and animals seen today.
[Source: National Geographic]