What animals do humans selectively breed?

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By Rachel

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You know that juicy steak you had for dinner last night? Well, it’s the result of artificial selection – the practice of selectively breeding animals and crops for desirable traits. This technique has been used for thousands of years to create new breeds of animals and plants that are better suited to human needs. But, there are concerns about the potential negative impacts, like a loss of genetic diversity. So, it’s important to use artificial selection in a responsible and sustainable way. Let’s explore this fascinating topic!

Artificial Selection in Agriculture: A Brief Overview

Humans have been selectively breeding animals and crops for thousands of years. This practice, known as artificial selection, involves choosing individuals with desirable traits and mating them to produce offspring with those same traits. Over time, this process has led to the creation of new breeds of animals and plants that are better suited to human needs.

The Role of Artificial Selection in Meat Production

When it comes to meat production, artificial selection has played a significant role in shaping the animals we eat today. Chickens, cattle, sheep, and pigs have all been selectively bred to produce more meat, grow faster, and have better feed conversion rates. For example, modern broiler chickens have been bred to have larger breasts and grow more quickly than their ancestors. Similarly, beef cattle have been bred to have more muscle and less fat, resulting in leaner cuts of meat.

The Impact of Artificial Selection on Fruits and Vegetables

Artificial selection has also been used to improve or even create new varieties of fruits and vegetables. For example, the modern tomato is the result of centuries of selective breeding. Early tomatoes were small and bitter, but over time, farmers selectively bred plants with larger, sweeter fruit. Today, there are countless varieties of tomatoes, each with their own unique flavor and texture.

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Other examples of artificially selected fruits and vegetables include seedless watermelons, which were created by selectively breeding plants with fewer seeds, and the Honeycrisp apple, which was developed through a combination of selective breeding and genetic engineering.

The Future of Artificial Selection

As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for artificial selection are endless. Scientists are now using genetic engineering techniques to create crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, as well as animals that are more resilient to environmental stressors.

However, there are also concerns about the potential negative impacts of artificial selection. For example, some critics argue that the focus on producing animals and crops with specific traits has led to a loss of genetic diversity, which could make these species more vulnerable to disease outbreaks and other threats.


Artificial selection has long been a powerful tool for humans to shape the natural world to our needs. From the meat we eat to the fruits and vegetables we grow, the impact of selective breeding is all around us. While there are certainly benefits to this practice, it is important to consider the potential drawbacks and work to ensure that we are using artificial selection in a responsible and sustainable way.

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