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Application of genetic principles in animal husbandry, agriculture, and horticulture to improve desirable qualities. Ancient agriculturists improved many plants through selective cultivation. Modern plant breeding centres on pollination; pollen from the chosen male parent, and no other pollen, must be transferred to the female parent. Animal breeding consists of choosing the ideal trait (e.g., fine wool, high milk production), selecting the breeding stock, and determining the breeding system (e.g., crossbreeding, inbreeding).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on breeding, visit Britannica.com.