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Burbank, Luther, 1849-1926 / Luther Burbank: his methods and discoveries and their practical application

[Luther Burbank -- the bearing of his work on human life -- on improving the human plant],   pp. [202]-246 PDF (10.0 MB)

Page 210

the more desirable individuals should be mated
and their progeny preserved to the exclusion of
the progeny of the less desirable.
The entire foundation of plant improvement
depends, as we have all along seen, on such free-
dom of choice. And in proportion as the plant
developer selects wisely, chooses the individual
plants that have the best hereditary tendencies,
mates the right individuals, and rigidly selects the
best only among their progeny, can he hope to
progress in the direction of his ideal plant.
It would appear, then, that unless human
society can devise a means whereby a preponder-
ant number of the offspring of each successive
generation are the progeny of those members of
the community who are superior in body and mind
and morals, we cannot expect that the human race
will improve generation after generation.
Any colony of flowers left to breed indiscrim-
inately, good or bad, will inevitably degenerate
from the stage of culture to whizh artificial selec-
tion has brought it. The reason for this is that
the conditions imposed by cultivation are different
from the conditions of Nature and the special
development of the plant has taken place along
the lines of man's tastes and needs without special
regard to the needs of the plant itself.
But if you remove the artificial conditions, so

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