Artificial selection (or selective breeding) describes intentional breeding for certain traits, or combination of traits. The term was utilized by Charles Darwin in contrast to natural selection, in which the differential reproduction of organisms with certain traits is attributed to improved survival or reproductive ability (“Darwinian fitness”). As opposed to artificial selection, in which humans favor specific traits, in natural selection the environment acts as a sieve through which only certain variations can pass.
The deliberate exploitation of artificial selection has become very common in experimental biology, as well as the discovery and invention of new drugs. Artificial selection can also be unintentional; it is thought that domestication of crops by early humans was largely unintentional.
Famous quotes containing the words artificial and/or selection:
“People who have realized that this is a dream imagine that it is easy to wake up, and are angry with those who continue sleeping, not considering that the whole world that environs them does not permit them to wake. Life proceeds as a series of optical illusions, artificial needs and imaginary sensations.”
—Alexander Herzen (18121870)
“It is the highest and most legitimate pride of an Englishman to have the letters M.P. written after his name. No selection from the alphabet, no doctorship, no fellowship, be it of ever so learned or royal a society, no knightship,not though it be of the Garter,confers so fair an honour.”
—Anthony Trollope (18151882)