Domestication is a process which involves a hereditary reorganisation of wild plants and animals into forms which are domestic, and which are cultivated according to specifications of human beings. It occurs at the genetic level where the traits favoured by the human beings are propagated, and the unfavourable ones suppressed. This means that the resultant domesticated plant has both phenophytic and genotypic differences with the mother plant (the wild type). Domestication is different from taming which is a process whereby the animals are trained and adapted to live with human beings. Taming produces phenophytic changes but no genotypic changes (Zohary & Harvey, 2000).
Plants and animals are domesticated for aesthetic enjoyment in the houses. This is witnessed by the use of house plants and aquariums inside houses. They are also domesticated for the purposes of large scale production of food and scientific research. Domesticated animals provide protection; act as human companions, used in warfare and scientific research. Domestication has resulted to the emergence of numerous different species of a similar crop. These numerous varieties of domesticated animals and plants are morphologically and behaviourally different from the wild varieties. This is brought about by the fact that the wild animals live and survive independent of human beings, while the domesticated animals are dependent on the human beings.
The wild animals live in the wild, and they must have numerous survival skills to enable them to survive. On the contrary, the domesticated animals have no survival pressure. This has led to the observation that domesticated animal species are smaller and weaker than the wild animals. The domesticated animals also have a smaller brain size than that of their wild counterparts. The wild animals must be fast and strong for the purposes of defence against their predators and also for hunting, in the case of carnivorous animals. The wild animals have these larger bodies because they feed on many varieties of high quality foods. Domesticated animals, in contrast, rely on diets drafted by their human owners.
The domesticated animals, when compared to the wild animals, have weaker senses of smell, taste, sight and touch. The senses in the wild animals are more elaborate because they are constantly used to search for food, shelter and sensing danger. Domesticated animals, on the other hand, afford the luxury of food without hunting for it. The domesticated animals are also able to eat different varieties of food, compared to the wild animals which have a strict diet (Clive, 2007).
In terms of behaviour, wild animals have strict seasonal reproduction rhythms. They reproduce seasonally due to factors such as, the weather and availability of food. They also have strict moulting seasons. The domesticated animals, in contrast, have no strict reproduction and moulting seasons. They are capable of reproducing at any season of the year, and moulting is uncommon. In plants, the natural seasons experienced in the wild types, may be shorter in the domesticated varieties. This especially helps to increase crop yield within a specified time frame (Darwin, 2009).
Domesticated plants also differ with the wild plants in that they have higher germination rates, and they have an increased size of the reproductive organs. They also have reduced chemical and physical defences and more predictable growth and germination. Most domesticated plants that are fruit bearing produce fruits that do not fall off even after ripening. This is crucial as it allows easy harvesting of the fruits. The wild plants usually produce fruits that fall off after ripening for the purpose of seed dispersal. This increases their survival chances.
The wild animals and plants are morphologically adapted to survive in the harsh, wild conditions. Their behaviours are also aimed to ensure the sustenance of the species amid strong competition from other wild species. The domestic animals and plants, on the other hand, are adapted to the quiet lives devoid of harsh, wild conditions. Their adaptations, morphologically and behaviourally, suit their owners.