What is selective breeding?

From Prof. Giles Yeo’s Garden Talk “Is our future really written in our genes?
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Selective breeding is a process in which people choose animals or plants with desirable characteristics and breed them to produce offspring with those same characteristics. This can be done by selecting the animals or plants that are most likely to produce offspring with the desired traits and breeding them together, or by using techniques such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization to produce offspring that carry the desired traits.

Selective breeding has been used for thousands of years to produce plants and animals with desirable characteristics. For example, farmers may selectively breed crops to produce plants that are more resistant to pests or are a different size. Breeders of domesticated animals may selectively breed animals to produce specific physical characteristics, such as size, coat color, or temperament.

Selective breeding is different from genetic engineering, in which the genetic makeup of an organism is directly modified using biotechnology techniques. While selective breeding relies on the natural variation that occurs within a species, genetic engineering allows for the introduction of new traits or characteristics that are not naturally found within the species.

Learn more about this with our series “Getting Into Your Genes”

DNA is the code of life. And it’s the DNA in your genes that determines the traits that make you who and what you are.  Our genes are unique but with so many scientific advancements, what have we learnt about ourselves from our genes?

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