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Re: Historic hysterics, Rainacres who?

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: Historic hysterics, Rainacres who?
  • From: bills@tiger.hsc.edu (Bill Shear)
  • Date: Wed, 5 Feb 1997 06:39:56 -0700 (MST)

Let's keep the distinction clear between natural selection and artificial
selection.  Natural selection operating in nature favors all characters
that lead to one thing--leaving behind more offspring.  Artificial
selection by man can make no such claim, in fact, artificial selection
often emphasizes characters that are of detriment to the selected form--but
of benefit to man.

Some of our iris varieties are now (and have been in the past)
"Dalmatians."  Over-bred for one characteristic (large, showy flowers) with
little or no attention paid to those traits that promote survival.

The present group of "historic" varitieties are still with us because in
addition to attractive flowers, they have the other qualities that lead to
long-term survival.  The "Dalmatians" of the past have long since fallen by
the wayside.  This seems  to me to be a special case of artificial
selection, perhaps carried out unconsciously.

Best wishes, Bill
William A. Shear
Department of Biology
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney VA 23943 USA
phone (804) 223-6172
FAX (804) 223-6374

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