Challenge Team Interim Report
Team Number: 068
School Name: Ruidoso High School
Area of Science: Biology
Project Title: SELECTIVE BREEDING TO PRODUCE A DESIRED TRAIT IN A GIVEN ANIMAL BY UTILIZING A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT
One of the major factors in the evolutionary development of humanity was the domestication of animals. Before recorded history man had discovered that it was possible to enrich the better of the stock by breeding the superior animals, thus producing heartier stronger herds. As in nature, where the female of the species will select and only breed with the heartiest dominant males.
Over time, overpopulation and the decreased amount of unutilized living space has made it necessary and important to reproduce only the animals with a higher level of excellence.
Our team has devised a plan for the next step of the evolutionary process. If in fact mankind eliminated the weaker, less desired animals from a particular breed then a stronger gene pool could be created. To efficiently produce a stronger breed it is necessary to utilize a timeline. Our program will produce an estimate based on generations in an effort to show that it is possible to create a specific trait or ability in desired animals.
If it were the intent to have a cow with short legs, an estimate could be generated showing the time needed, necessary number of generations produced factoring in the time required for animal growth maturity for reproduction ability and the development of the desired characteristic. Calculation of these factors would show the estimated development of a dominant trait.
An estimate could be the best any program would ever be able to provide, due to the fact that it is not possible to have a completely controlled environment for any animal, farm animals not withstanding, because even if the computer program can give an exact calculation, nature, fate and life cannot.
The program we are proposing will also have another shortcoming. In trying to simulate perfect selective breeding conditions, some numbers used can only reflect the usual situations as they normally occur which will result in somewhat random calculations.
The program we intend to write will consist of mostly computed equations encompassing addition, subtraction, averages, ratios and some randomization. The program will also reflect the best possible case scenario, such as assuming each pairing will result in a successful breeding, produce a living offspring and that severe abnormalities will not occur. Of course, animals will not be inbred, which would result possible malformations and contamination of the gene pool. This would effectively defeat the entire purpose of the selective breeding process.
All animals used in the selective breeding process will be disease free. Their immune systems will not be compromised by the use of antibiotics or hormone therapy. Percent of known failures will be factored into the final result determined. A description of program executions will be more thoroughly understood by reviewing the resulting graph.
The initial generation will begin with four male and four female of the species, all with average characteristics. Each male with copulate with two different females and the offspring of the other two females when female offspring occur. The first generation will then be eliminated and the four offspring with the movement towards the more advanced desired trait will be paired (two male and two female in compliance with the required conditions described earlier).
This process will be continued until the desired trait has occurred for a minimum of five generations. This should result in a dominant genetic code which will produce desired trait occurrence.
The experiment can be adapted to any breed with only minor program changes, factors, and desired traits. The prototype of the program will be very broad and will need to be breed specific to be used in an effective prospect. Rates of averages and span of possible randomness will change subject to the animals being used, however, the program possibilities could essentially be utilized for any breed.
It is our belief that a system can be developed to test for future genetic advancement in domesticated animals for various purposes, such as creating a more reliable food source or developing advanced common pets. Further perfection in animals for human usage will be necessary as the demands on mankind increase or until a time when animal products will be outdated by technology and lack of space to maintain them. The overall improvement could lead to more dexterous, healthier animals that may would not need to be enhanced with steroids and other agents to increase production and/or size.