Breeding Terminology

When looking at the differences between types of animals like dogs or of plant crops like oranges, it is probably easier to use the terminology used in farming and breeding rather than the scientific use of genus, species, and sub-species. Breeding is the development or refinement of certain traits within a type of plant or animal. This is typically done by man to bring out certain desirable traits while diminishing undesirable traits.

Reduced Genetic Information

The breeding of animals and plants for certain qualities is easy to do both my man’s intervention or by processes known as natural selection. However, unlike evolution which supposes this increases genetic information, breeding reduces genetic information. Breeding selects qualities that already exist and confines that within a breed and reduces the ability of that breed to have greater variation in the offspring. It is a loss of genetic variation.

Dogs Remain Dogs

Dogs are bred out to create specific breeds or species of dogs. But they remain dogs and are no longer capable of breeding out the wider varieties from which they came. They are often still able to reproduce with the types of dogs they came from and sometimes able to hybridize with other species of dogs. However, they are still dogs with a smaller genetic variation than their ancestors.

Pure Breeds

Pure breeds carry with them great difficulties as genetic problems build up and increase in frequency through the generations. It is not uncommon for a pure-bred English Setter to be deaf. In nature, if this were to happen, the number of these dogs would quickly decrease because of the inability to hear predators and prey. Under man’s selective breeding and care, these dogs are able to survive and make nice pets with many good qualities.


The mixing of two breeds of a similar kind, called hybridization, can increase problems as well. In oranges certain traits, such as good appearance and low numbers of seeds, were hybridized frequently. The resulting oranges may sell well, but they are unable to reproduce and grafting is the method that must be used to make new fields of this type of orange. Again, no new genetic information was formed. Instead, so much information has been lost that the plant is now infertile. Again, left on its own, this breed of plant would not survive.

Hybridization can be used to go backwards and re-gain genetic variety. By mixing breeds or pure-breeds together, the resulting offspring can carry genes more similar to what an ancestral population may have had. This type of work is being done by mixing various pig breeds to bring back what is known as the iron age pig.

Intentional hybridization in farming can cause genetic problems as well. Typically, as one trait is built up, other traits deteriorate or receive low quality genes. This is generally accepted as a trade-off. For example, many apple hybrids are made that look very nice on the store shelf, but which lack the strong flavors of wild varieties in the old orchards.

In oranges, much hybridization has led to fruit with a good appearance but with low numbers of seed which are unable to reproduce and, thus, need grafting techniques to continue the line. Through this process, no new genetic information was formed. Instead, so much information has been lost that the plant is now infertile. Left on its own, this breed of plant would not survive.

XXVIIIA. Last Updated: 08/01/2016
Todd Elder

Todd Elder

Todd Elder has a deep desire to understand and experience Creation. As a Baraminologist, his current research includes developing the Katagenos Species Concept, the Natanzera Classification System, and the Floral Formula Method of determining Plant Kinds. As an author and speaker, his books and seminar materials are designed to encourage a growing relationship with the Creator.
Todd Elder

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