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Artificial Selection

Breeding for a purpose

Dogs bred as sighthounds -
clockwise from top left: Whippet,
Borzoi, and Saluki
Can you see the similarities in their
What physical characteristics do you
think were selected?
14th century
print of a hunt.

Can you spot

the sight-

How did you

Dogs bred as herding dogs
clockwise from top left Border collie,
Lancashire heeler, Rottweiler, Old
English Sheepdog

Do you think the

characteristics that
are bred for are
physical or
Dogs bred for a purpose
Dogs have been selectively bred for a
purpose for 15,000 years
Starting with some wolves, dogs were
initially bred to help with:
hunting; producing hounds, terriers, and
farming; producing herding dogs and guard
Modern breeding has given us companion
dogs and toy dogs whose purpose is to
keep us company funnily enough
The Auroch where all domesticated
cattle were bred from


Artificial selection in plants
Tall wheat plants have a high yield, but are
easily damaged in wind and rain
Dwarf wheat plants have a low yield, but
are robust against nasty weather
Q: What do you think happened when the
two types were cross-bred?
A: A dwarf wheat with high yield that was
Other types were produced, but they were
How would you?
Discuss how you would breed for:

Better quality of milk from cows

- Increased number of
offspring in sheep
In summary
Selective breeding = Artificial selection
Has been used for animals and plants
The method:
The desired characteristics are identified
They are bred together
Only the offspring exhibiting the desired
characteristics are bred
This is repeated over several generations until
the desired trait is fully developed
In summary
Traits are chosen to benefit humans, not
the animal
Physical problems often occur in domestic
animals eg. Inflammation of the udder
(mastisis) in cows due to increased milk

Usually involves inbreeding, which can

lead to reduced genetic diversity
Would it be right to selectively
breed humans??
Adolf Hitler believed in a master race (the
Aryans) and implemented a plan to create this
This involved eugenics the selective breeding
of humans.
Nazi eugenics
Those considered not worthy of life, - let
alone allowed to have children - included
(but was not limited to) the criminal,
degenerate, dissident, feeble-minded,
homosexual, idle, insane, and the weak

400,000 people were sterilised against

their will and 70,000 were killed
What do YOU think?