The technology used in selective breeding allows a certain living organism to be bred selectively for the purpose of getting the best features or characteristics for the next generations of the subject species. It is a complex process where plants, animals and humans are bred to make specific traits more prominent. Plants and animals can become bigger and leaner, bringing better products into the food chain. As for human beings, it could mean that we can live longer by removing genetic conditions. But like any other branch of science, selective breeding also has its fair share of pros and cons that we should be aware of in order to make sure that we will not regret practicing such a technique.
List of Pros of Selective Breeding
1. It has the potential to help create a sustainable food chain.
With the world expected to hit a population mark of about 10 billion in 2050, it has become more important for us to start planning a food chain system that provides sufficient calories to be produced each year globally, so we can effectively feed people and eliminate hunger.
2. It comes with no issues with regards to safety.
Unlike the process of growing genetically modified (GM) crops, selective breeding allows for natural evolution to occur. Though the process is made to happen at an accelerated rate with human manipulation, the DNA sequences are not manipulated to make changes, unlike the method used in genetic modification.
3. It does not require a company patent.
Anyone who works in the agricultural sector can start using this technique whenever he wants. Aside from this, selective breeding is also a great way for farmers to earn more profits naturally every year, as they can just breed specific characteristics into their livestock and crops for increased yields.
List of Cons of Selective Breeding
1. It can cause genetic depression.
Organisms beginning to become genetically similar mean that there will be a depression in genetic diversity, leading to an increase of negative mutations. In fact, this is already showing in human populations, particularly in the Eastern European Jews, Cajun communities in Louisiana and some Old World populations in the northeastern part of the US.
2. It does not guarantee control over genetic mutations.
While this breeding method is believed to help hasten the good traits of certain species, it can do nothing about the bad traits. Random mutations are going to happen, which will automatically decrease the effectiveness of the crops and animals that are being bred.
3. It reduces variety in certain organism groups.
Selective breeding aims to create enhanced organisms, which mean that variety will be compromised for productivity, hindering opportunities for evolution to continue.
Selective breeding has become a very important technique, especially to people in the business of agriculture in enhancing the quality and increasing the quantity of crops they are growing. However, there are also definite limitations to consider. By weighing down the pros and cons listed above, we will be able to determine whether this technology and practice is really beneficial to the society as a whole or not.