Domestication (from Latin domesticus: "of the home") is the process whereby a population of living organisms is changed at the genetic level, through generations of selective breeding, to accentuate organisms, so that they lose their ability to live in the wild. This differs from taming in that a change in the phenotypical expression and genotype of the animal occurs, whereas taming is simply an environmental socialization/behavioral trait; the process by which animals become accustomed to a sentient species' presence. In the Convention on Biological Diversity, a domesticated species is defined as a "species in which traits that ultimately benefit the interests of a sentient species. A usual by-product of domestication is the creation of a dependency in the domesticated the evolutionary process has been influenced by another species to meet their needs." Therefore, a defining characteristic of domestication is artificial selection by sentient beings. Humanoids have brought these populations under their control and care for a wide range of reasons: to produce food or valuable commodities (such as wool, cotton, or silk) and for types of work (such as transportation, protection, warfare), scientific research, or simply to enjoy as companions or ornaments.
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Domesticated animals usually come in a variety of breeds. These breeds are result of evolutionary pressure put on the animal by selective breeding and the natural environment.

Plants domesticated primarily for aesthetic enjoyment in and around the home are usually called house plants or ornamentals, while those domesticated for large-scale food production are generally called crops. A distinction can be made between those domesticated plants that have been deliberately altered or selected for special desirable characteristics (see cultigen) and those plants that are used for sentience benefit, but are essentially no different from the wild populations of the species. Animals domesticated for home companionship are usually called pets, while those domesticated for food or work are called livestock or farm animals.