Selective breeding or artificial selection is when humans breed plants and animals for particular genetic characteristics. Humans have bred food crops from wild plants and domesticated animals for thousands of years.
Selective breeding takes place over many generations. The main steps for both plants and animals involve:
An example of this can be seen in cows, as they can be bred to produce milk and meat.
Farmers selectively breed different types of cows with highly desirable characteristics in order to produce the best meat and dairy. This means the farmers can make the most profit.
Characteristics can be chosen for usefulness or appearance.
Desired characteristics in plants:
Desired characteristics in animals:
The new varieties may be economically important. For example, they may provide more or better quality food, or allow farmers to feed more people.