In Masterminding Nature, Margaret Derry examines the evolution of modern animal breeding from the invention of improved breeding methodologies in eighteenth-century England to the application of molecular genetics in the 1980s and 1990s. A clear and concise introduction to the science and practice of artificial selection, Derry's book puts the history of breeding in its scientific, commercial, and social context.
Masterminding Nature explains why animal breeders continued to use eighteenth-century techniques well into the twentieth century, why the chicken industry was the first to use genetics in its breeding programs, and why it was the dairy cattle industry that embraced quantitative genetics and artificial insemination in the 1970s, as well as answering many other questions. Following the story right up to the present, Masterminding Nature concludes with an insightful analysis of today's complex relationships between biology, industry, and ethics.
"Masterminding Nature is an impressive, detailed, and thorough book by an expert who has both academic and hands-on experience in the realm of domesticated animal breeding. It is crisp, clear, and meticulous."
- Sandra Swart, Department of History, University of Stellenbosch
1. Artificial Selection Theory and Livestock Breeding, 1750-1900
2. Early Developments in Genetics
3. Practical Breeding via Theoretical Population Genetics
4. New Directions: Artificial Insemination Technology and Quantitative Genetics
5. Molecular Genetics, Genomics, and Livestock Breeding
6. Biology, Industry Needs, and Morality in Livestock Breeding
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Margaret Derry is an adjunct professor in the Department of History at the University of Guelph.