Download Agricultural Examples of Artificial Selection Corn Bananas

yes no Was this document useful for you?
   Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the workof artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Document related concepts

Genetic engineering wikipedia , lookup

Group selection wikipedia , lookup

Hybrid (biology) wikipedia , lookup

Designer baby wikipedia , lookup

Genetically modified crops wikipedia , lookup

History of genetic engineering wikipedia , lookup

Microevolution wikipedia , lookup

Selective breeding wikipedia , lookup

Genetically modified organism containment and escape wikipedia , lookup

Agricultural Examples of Artificial Selection
The history of modern-day maize begins at the dawn of human
agriculture, about 10,000 years ago. Ancient farmers in what is now
Mexico took the first steps in domesticating maize when they simply
chose which kernels (seeds) to plant. These farmers noticed that not
all plants were the same. Some plants may have grown larger than
others, or maybe some kernels tasted better or were easier to grind.
The farmers saved kernels from plants with desirable characteristics
and planted them for the next season's harvest. This process is
known as selective breeding, or artificial selection. Maize cobs
became larger over time, with more rows of kernels, eventually
taking on the form of modern maize.
The identity of maize's wild ancestor remained a mystery for many decades. While other grains such as
wheat and rice have obvious wild relatives, there is no wild plant that looks like maize, with soft, starchy
kernels arranged along a cob. Through the study of genetics, we
know today that corn's wild ancestor is a grass called teosinte.
Teosinte doesn't look much like maize, especially when you
compare its kernels to those of corn. But at the DNA level, the
two are surprisingly alike. They have the same number of
chromosomes and a remarkably similar arrangement of genes. In
fact, only about 5 genes are responsible for the most-notable
differences between teosinte and a primitive strain of maize.
Around seven thousand years ago, the first bananas were
discovered. In the wild, bananas were not easy to eat. They
probably had to be peeled using sharp rocks, and whoever was
eating them would have had to constantly spit out big seeds.
However, not all the bananas were exactly the same as each
other. Just like humans, some bananas were thinner than the
others, some had different skin colours, some were especially
seedy and some were sweeter than the rest. Humans didn’t fail to notice this biodiversity in the banana
trees. They collected the bananas with the most desirable qualities they could find, and bred them. They
found bananas with the smallest seeds, bananas with the thinnest
skin, bananas that were longer than the others, and used them to
plant new banana trees. As the artificial selection process was
repeated over thousands of years, we finally arrived at today’s
model. Modern bananas have the right thickness to fit snugly in your
hand. The surface of a banana is anti-slip, making it easy to hold and
to eat. There is a finger-sized tab on the top of every banana. All you
have to do is to pull it lightly, and the skin peels away from the edible
fruit inside.
Artificial Selection 101
Artificial selection is a process in which humans select animals and plants based on certain
traits, to ensure that future generations will inherit those traits. Essentially, humans alter the
evolution of organisms for their own benefit, rather than allowing nature to select the traits
that will increase the fitness of the organism over time.
1. Essentially removes variation in a population. (Diluting the gene pool of species.)
2. Selectively bred organisms can be especially susceptible to diseases or changes in the
environment that would not be a problem for a natural population.
3. Unable to control genes inherited by offspring, so this trial and error method is a slow
process that involves breeding over a few generations.
4. May create infertile hybrids.
1. Economically beneficial because the process itself is almost free, especially if one is in the
agriculture business.
2. Able to produce crops with higher yield, shorter harvest time, higher resistance to pest and
diseases and better taste in an inefficient yet somewhat natural way.
3. No human safety issues from consuming artificially selected plants, such as those brought
about by genetic engineering.
4. Most people are comfortable with selective breeding of plants and animals as it has been
practiced for centuries, while many people still worry about the safety of genetic modification.