Domestication

related topics
{specie, animal, plant}
{theory, work, human}
{food, make, wine}
{land, century, early}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}
{city, large, area}
{system, computer, user}

Domestication (from Latin domesticus) or taming is the process whereby a population of animals or plants, through a process of selection, becomes accustomed to human provision and control. A defining characteristic of domestication is artificial selection by humans. Humans have brought these populations under their control and care for a wide range of reasons: to produce food or valuable commodities (such as wool, cotton, or silk), for help with various types of work (such as transportation or protection), for protection of themselves and livestock and for scientific research, such as finding cures for certain diseases, or simply to enjoy as companions or ornaments.

Plants domesticated primarily for aesthetic enjoyment in and around the home are usually called house plants or ornamentals, while those domesticated for large-scale food production are generally called crops. A distinction can be made between those domesticated plants that have been deliberately altered or selected for special desirable characteristics (see cultigen) and those domesticated plants that are essentially no different from their wild counterparts (assuming domestication does not necessarily imply physical modification). Likewise, animals domesticated for home companionship are usually called pets while those domesticated for food or work are called livestock or farm animals.

Contents

Background

There is debate within the scientific community over how the process of domestication works. Some researchers give credit to natural selection, where mutations outside of human control make some members of a species more compatible to human cultivation or companionship. Others have shown that carefully controlled selective breeding is responsible for many of the collective changes associated with domestication. These categories are not mutually exclusive and it is likely that natural selection and selective breeding have both played some role in the processes of domestication throughout history.[1] Either way, a process of selection is involved. The domestication of wheat is an example of this. Wild wheat falls to the ground to reseed itself when it is ripe, but domesticated wheat stays on the stem when it is ripe. There is evidence that this critical change came about as a result of a random mutation near the beginning of wheat's cultivation. Wheat with this mutation was the only wheat harvested and became the seed for the next crop. This wheat was much more useful to farmers and became the basis for the various strains of domesticated wheat that have since been developed.[2]

Full article ▸

related documents
Jaguar
Trogon
Red-eared slider
Hedgehog
Arecaceae
Extinction
Rabbit
Blue Whale
Endangered species
Predation
Cloning
Pygmy Hippopotamus
Sea turtle
Great ape
Banksia
Snail
Carnivora
Bat
Pinniped
Caterpillar
Lepidoptera
Catfish
American Bison
Chimpanzee
Tuatara
Reptile
Velvet worm
Fox hunting
Thylacine
Jellyfish