Artificial Selection

Darwin started his famous book with a chapter on artificial selection. This process occurs when a human breeder chooses individuals that will parent the next generation. For example, humans may choose to breed oat plants that yield more grain per stalk or greyhounds that run faster. Because of the immense differences among varieties of dogs, as shown in Figure 15-13, Darwin doubted that all domestic dog breeds arose from the same wild species. But in the 2000s, geneticists analyzed DNA from 654 dog breeds, including ancient dog remains. Their findings indicated that all breeds of dogs share DNA similarities with wolves in East Asia. These findings support the hypothesis that humans first selected domestic dogs from a wolf population about 15,000 years ago.

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