Difference between Natural and Artificial Selection

Natural selection selects the fittest organism for the environment, which can adapt in all kinds of situations such as variations in the weather, shelter, temperature, genetic drift, and gaining nutrition. On the contrary, Artificial selection selects the organisms with the desired features and they are further genetically modified with the latest technologies of biology. Hence, in natural selection, organisms are chosen by nature whereas, in artificial selection, humans choose the organisms according to their requirements. Artificial selection is also called unnatural selection or selective breeding.

In 1859, Charles Darwin proposed the idea of evolution first time and theory is called “Darwinism” or “Natural Selection Theory.” Evolution is the gradual development of organisms from their earlier forms to the new forms. Many mechanisms affect the process of evolution such as mutation, genetic drift, and migration but natural selection is a widespread and strongly accepted mechanism. Artificial selection is the unnatural selection of organisms with the interference of humans’ activity. There is also some other difference between natural and artificial selection.

Comparison Chart

Basis for Comparison Natural Selection Artificial Selection
Definition Natural selection is the process of an organism’s adaptation in their environment to survive and production of the next generation. Artificial selection can be defined as the intentional breeding of plants or animals by humans to get desired traits.
Chances of survival Increases Always at risk
Process rate Slow and lengthy process (occurs in hundreds of years) Faster process (occurs in a few years)
Controlled by Controlled by nature Controlled by humans
Affected by By environmental factors By humans desires
Performed on On all types of organisms On some selective organisms
Selection of traits Based on adaptation ability Based on the required characters
Transformation Transforms the entire population Brings out the new variety of species
Type of selection Natural selection Man-made selection
Occurs in In all kinds of natural populations Occurs in domestic populations
Genetic diversity Remains high Gets lowered
The function of the process Provides a diversity of organisms Provides economically productive organisms and other things
Examples Darwin finches, Giraffes long necks, insecticides resistance Maize, corn, rice, wheat

What is Natural Selection?

Natural selection is the type of selection in which nature plays a role that selects fittest species in any specific, and humans’ choices are not favored. Darwin’s theory of evolution is widely accepted by scientists in order to explain the selection and working of nature. Evolution is actually the mechanism of natural selection in which fittest and healthiest organism is sorted and permitted to survive and reproduce to give birth to the next generations. While the weakest organisms which are not able to adapt with the natural variations are not allowed to grow and reproduce further.

Natural selection is for all kinds of organisms; terrestrial, aquatic, or arboreal. In this type of selection, the development of new generations is prolonged but the new generations produce very transformed and strong organisms that can survive and adapt in all situations even better than previous generations.

The evolution of long necks of Giraffe is an excellent example of natural selection or evolution. Earlier Giraffe did not use to have long necks but their food was the leaves of tall trees, which was once unreachable to them and in order to survive, they slowly transformed their short necks to long necks. After generation after generation, they developed this unique identity of having a long neck which was previously developed only to get food from tall trees.


There are three types of natural selection; directional selection, stabilizing selection, and disruptive selection. In directional selection, an extreme phenotype is favored over other phenotypes. In stabilizing selection, a population is stabilized on a specific non extreme trait value. In disruptive selection, organisms with intermediate traits reproduce less and organisms with extreme traits reproduce more.

What is Artificial Selection?

Artificial selection is a traditional method for improving livestock and crops. Artificial selection helps to enhance the quality of a trait or whatever desirable characteristics humans need in these traits. Nature has no or little role in this type of selection. Different varieties of animals and plants with desired and economic characteristics can be developed by artificial or selective breeding. For example, chickens which can produce big eggs, cows that produce lots of mils and wheat plants that provide lots of grains.

Artificial selection does not make a species or organism stronger and fit for survival. This process is dangerous and requires the use of advanced technologies because of the higher demands of good quality of vegetables, fruits, and pets such as dogs, cow and buffalo. This type of selection occurs over many generations and requires many steps. The general steps of artificial selection are: to decide which traits are essential to select, choose parents that show these traits, choose the best offspring from the parents to produce next generations and repeat this process continuously.

Key Differences between Natural and Artificial Selection

  1. Natural selection is the natural process of selection, whereas artificial selection is the selection by synthetic methods.
  2. Natural selection promotes the fittest one for all time of unpleasant situations, whereas artificial selection does a favor for the desired characters in the new organisms.
  3. Natural selection is a slow and long process, whereas artificial selection is a fast process.
  4. Natural selection is controlled by nature, whereas humans control artificial selection.
  5. Natural selection is for all types of organisms, whereas artificial selection is for some selective organisms for desired characters.
  6. Natural selection is based on the ability of adaptation by the organisms, whereas artificial selection is based on the required characters.
  7. The natural selection brings out the transformation of the entire population of a species, whereas artificial selection results in a new variety of that species.
  8. Natural selection occurs in all-natural populations, whereas artificial selection occurs in the only domestic population.
  9. In natural selection, genetic diversity remains high whereas in artificial selection; genetic diversity is lowered
  10. Darwin finches are the example of natural selection, whereas corn, maize and rice are examples of artificial selection.


In conclusion, both natural and artificial selection cause changes in plants and animals. The difference is that natural selection occurs naturally, whereas artificial selection occurs with the interference of humans.

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