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What is the difference between a hybrid and a GMO?

April 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Did you know?


Have you ever wondered what the difference between a hybrid and a genetically modified organism is?

Technically, a GMO is a plant or animal who has had DNA prepared outside itself inserted into it. This altered DNA may also be inserted into a cell that is then fused or hybridized with the host. The altered DNA often has added genes or is missing genes. Generally, the term GMO applies to organisms that have been altered by bioengineering techniques. It does not refer to organisms modified by traditional plant or animal breeding or in vitro fertilization.

A hybridized plant or animal is a child of two distinctly different species, subspecies or cultivars. While for thousands of years this has been manipulated by humans, it also occurs naturally in nature.

Nearly every plant or animal is a hybrid of some sort. Though we think of many dog breeds or “heirloom” plants as purebreds, at some point they were hybridized. Often heirloom tomatoes or other veggies are hybrids that have withstood the test of time and eventually reach the heirloom status.

Though a hybrid is technically a genetically modified organism, it is not a “genetically modified organism” because it is modified by natural means. A “GMO” is modified by modern technology.

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