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Letters to the Editor

Letters from the September 3, 2005, issue of Science News

3:57pm, August 30, 2005

Pick of the crop

"Honey, We Shrank the Snow Lotus: Picking big plants reduces species' height" (SN: 7/9/05, p. 20) suggests that the change is an evolutionary process. However, this and the other examples given are all more selective breeding than natural selection. In this case, organisms with undesirable characteristics (smaller size) are overrepresented during reproduction as the result of removing the larger organisms from the breeding population.

Robert Ardrey
Prescott, Ariz

The tale of the snow lotus certainly has aspects of selective breeding, but in this case, human influence makes a species less desirable to people rather than more so. And remember that "evolutionary process" is a broader term than "natural selection." To quote the researchers in their study's abstract, "Humans can unconsciously drive evolution... ."—S. Milius

Why wait?

I was very glad

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