11 Selective Breeding Advantages and Disadvantages
Science has come further than we could have ever imagined in the past couple of decades. Selective breeding has been just one of the products of this advancement. Selective breeding is when plants or animals are bred for specific traits. These traits could be physical such as a fur color, or they can be more useful, such as an increase in milk production. There are many uses for selective breeding, some more beneficial than others, but still many people are opposed to the idea.
The Advantages of Selective Breeding
1. A Removal of Unwanted Traits
One of the biggest benefits of using the process of selective breeding is the fact that you can effectively breed out traits that are unwanted. Things like illness, health problems, and production problems can all be eliminated from a group of animals with selective breeding.
2. More Crops Means Lowered Prices
When used with plants, crops can be manipulated into producing much higher yields. This is great for a wide variety of reasons, including a drop in price for consumers. This is the most commonly used form of selective breeding.
3. Expand Living Conditions
In order for a plant, crop, of animal to thrive they have to be in the correct conditions and climates. This all changes when you factor in selective breeding. The animals that can withstand colder or hotter weathers can be bred specifically to pass on that trait. Once done a few times, you have a set of animals or plants that can survive and thrive in harsh climates.
4. Profits Come First
More profit is possibly the biggest driving factor when it comes to selective breeding. Since you can condition plants and animals to provide a larger yield of products. Since there is a higher amount of product being produced, the profits that are gained by the farmers are higher, which helps our economy.
5. Higher Quality Food
The quality of the food that is produced is also improved by using selective breeding. The fat percentage of meat can be reduced and the vitamin content of crops can increased. Scientists have managed to even add new nutrients into foods where they did not exist before.
6. It’s A Safe Practice
The process of selective breeding has been used for thousands of years. People are very comfortable with it’s use in agriculture because of this, there is no unnatural modifications to the animals or plants.
The Disadvantages of Selective Breeding
1. Inbreeding Problems
The largest argument against the use of selective breeding is the risk of inbreeding. Inbreeding is when you mate two animals who have direct, blood, relation to each other. This is something that almost always has to be done in order to obtain the characteristic that is being aimed for. Inbreeding causes severe mental and physical problems and illnesses in animals.
2. Diversity Is Lost
Diversity is another thing that is negatively affected by the use of selective breeding. Since the purpose is to breed in or out traits, you can lose some all together. Whether you are talking about humans, animals, or plants, diversity is a necessity for the longevity of the species.
3. Things Naturally Evolve
Natural evolution occurs in nature over time. This is so that the species can adapt to a changing environment. When you use selective breeding, you take away the ability for a natural process to cause the animals to evolve. This could easily cause important evolution to not occur.
4. Health Concerns
The effects of consuming food products that came from animals or plants that have been selectively bred have not been thoroughly researched. This fact has been causing many eyebrows to begin to raise. Anything that we consume on a regular basis should be thoroughly evaluated for it’s long term health effects.
5. Extremely Time Consuming
In order to successfully obtain the trait that you are looking for, it can take years. This is because you have to mate the animals, wait for the offspring to be born, and determine whether or not the trait was passed on. This process is often repeated many times in order to be successful.