If you are running a farm, where your main source of income is crops or livestock, then you should find the best way to increase efficiency. Considering that organic or natural farming does is not always the best means to get the best results, you can opt for selective breeding to ensure a higher production level. It is a complex agricultural method where plants and animals are bred to make particular characteristics more prominent or to hereditarily encourage favorable traits, so to speak. Typically, it is achieved through controlled breeding of plants and animals and plants. As complex as it might be, it is still known to be practical and easy to understand and execute.
However, just like any agricultural method, selective breeding also has its own set of limitations that you need to be aware of to ensure that you will not regret using it. By weighing its pros and cons, you can decide whether it is a great option or not.
List of Pros of Selective Breeding
1. It is free.
Selective breeding is a free process that can be performed on plants and animals, especially for the purpose of business. As such, you just need to be well-equipped with the knowledge of the process in order to attain the best results.
2. It requires no company patent.
Anyone who is working in the agricultural business can start this method whenever he wants. It is designed as a natural way for farmers to earn more profits annually, as it allows them to breed particular characteristics into animals and plants, making them more productive over the next generations.
3. It provides higher yields.
By employing selective breeding, you will be able to produce higher amounts of crops, which are also given a higher resistance to pests and diseases, along with a shorter span of time for harvest period.
4. It leads to higher profits.
This agricultural method allows for the encouragement of characteristics that are more advantageous for farmers. If you are raising livestock, such as cows, they can produce more milk than the typical ones. When you breed them, such a trait and their genes can also be passed on to their offspring. For crops, they will grow more than the typical crops. This means that promoting these advantages will surely increase the market value of your products. If you are into agricultural business, selective breeding is undeniably your perfect option.
5. It does not pose any safety issues.
There is no need to worry about safety in selective breeding, as the process is proven to be definitely safe and secure.
6. It helps eliminate diseases.
One big advantage of this farming technology is the opportunity to eliminate animal and plant diseases. According to research, the pre-screening and identification of particular diseases would allow full control over them. As you can see, controlled breeding of organisms without genetic diseases will, sooner or later, eliminate such diseases from their future offspring.
7. It ensures quality produce.
Farmers are convenient with selective breeding, as they are assured that the method will give them superior types of product.
8. It can provide a sustainable food chain.
With the world expected to hit a population mark of about 10 billion around 2050, it is critical to start planning a food chain system that allows for enough calories to be produced each year in a global scale, so people around the world can be fed efficiently, eliminating hunger.
List of Cons of Selective Breeding
1. It leads to loss of variety.
Most of the time, selective breeding requires inbreeding of animals and plants, which can result to a decrease in genetic variety. And when this happens, organisms may express similar vulnerability to certain pathogens. For example, when a group of animals and plants with similar genes or traits are attacked by a certain pathogen, their entire population would certainly suffer. This is the main reason why meticulous analysis and monitoring are frequently done to assess if a selectively bred population is at risk of particular kinds of disease. Simply put, this technology removes the differences of every one in a group of organisms.
2. It risks creating new diseases.
Plants and animals that have undergone a selective breeding process are at risk of being vulnerable to environmental changes and some diseases.
3. It has no control over genetic mutations.
Yes, selective breeding can help hasten the good traits of evolution, but it can do nothing about the unfavorable traits. One consequence would be random genetic mutations, which will automatically reduce the effectiveness of crops that are being grown, as most mutations are not beneficial. This farming method will not able to control the formation of genes that can be handed down to future offspring.
4. It causes original plant traits to be lost.
Since this breeding process can lead to the creation of offspring that has different traits, the natural, permanent trait of the (original) parent organisms would be completely lost.
5. It causes discomfort to animals.
Livestock farmers who want to formulate particular animal traits might accidentally reproduce characteristics that can damage the health of the animals. For instance, cows can only produce large amount of milk with large udders, which can be heavy and stressful for them. This means selective breeding can surely cause animals discomfort.
6. It could create a genetic depression.
While organisms start to become genetically similar with selective breeding, they would also start to experience a genetic depression, which can lead to an increase of negative mutations. Moreover, it also reduces genetic diversity, where organisms would be put at risk of the so-called inbreeding depression.
Selective breeding is definitely very important, especially to people who are engaging in the agriculture business, to boost the quantity of crops they are harvesting. This method can help make vegetables grow bigger, fruits taste better and animals get healthier. By weighing the pros and cons listed above, we can come up with solutions that will help the world meet its needs into the future.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.