Key Difference – GMO vs Hybrid
GMO and Hybrid are improved organisms with beneficial characteristics via genetic engineering or breeding programs. The key difference between GMO and hybrid is that GMO is an organism with modified genome through genetic engineering technology inside the lab while hybrid is an offspring produced by controlled sexual reproduction between two organisms by the breeder.
What is GMO?
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) is an organism which has a modified or altered genetic makeup through genetic engineering. GMO is also known as a transgenic organism. There are transgenic plants and animals developed by scientists using genetic engineering. All these GMOs are subjected to artificial modification of their genetic material. A foreign gene or genes are transferred into the genome of the organism. The genetic material transfer using genetic engineering is a specific process for GMO production. Hence, gene transferring is highly manageable and can transfer only the desired traits to the recipient. Selective breeding is another type of exchanging genetic material among organisms. However, it is not done using genetic engineering which involves recombinant DNA technology.
Over the years, scientists have developed various genetically modified plants and animals. More types of GMO plants have been developed than genetically modified animals due to convenience. As a result, genetically modified foods such as apples, soybean, milk, canola, corn, sugar beets, alfalfa, etc. are available in the market. They are composed of one or more desired characteristics. As an example, genetically modified tomatoes have been made to resist frost and freezing temperatures by introducing antifreeze genes isolated from cold water fish.
What is a Hybrid?
The term hybrid represents the offspring produced through a specific and controlled cross between two parental individuals. The desired characteristics of two parents are mixed through a hybrid cross, and a new organism is produced. In nature, hybrids are produced via open pollination. However, it takes several generations to produce the desired phenotype. Hence, breeders just control the sexual reproduction process between specific two parents and try to produce the expected phenotype within one generation through a hybrid cross.
Crossbreeding and hybrid production are feasible for both plants and animals. Scientists have crossbred animals, resulting in hybrid animals such as cattalo, tigon, mule, liger, leopon etc. Hybridization is common among important crops such as rice, sweet corn, lemon, tomato, etc. Plant breeders create hybrid plants with important traits such as disease resistance, drought resistance, submerge tolerance, seedless fruits, high nutritional grains, etc. They do these hybrid crosses at fields or inside greenhouses.
What is the Difference Between GMO and Hybrid?
GMO vs Hybrid
|GMO is produced through genetic engineering.||Hybrid is produced through controlled sexual reproduction between specific two parents.|
|Type of Technology|
|GMO production is a high-technological process.||Hybrid production does not require high technological processes.|
|Modification of the Genome|
|Genome of the GMO is modified artificially.||Genome is not modified artificially.|
|Genetic Material Transferring between Organisms|
|Genetic material transferring can be done between many organisms including, bacteria, plants, animals, etc.||Hybridization is possible only between species which are able to sexually mate.|
|Manipulation of Trait Transfer|
|Genetic material transferring can be managed. Only the desired trait can be transferred to GMO.||During hybrid cross, many unwanted traits can be transferred to the new organism along with the desired traits.|
|GMOs are not natural. Hence, they are likely to cause environmental and health problems.||Hybrids are natural. Hence, they are less likely to cause problems to environment and health.|
|Effects on Next Generation|
|Transferred trait is visible in the next generation since it has been integrated into the genome.||Hybrids do not always show the desired trait in the next generation (F2).|
Summary – GMO vs Hybrid
Genetic material transferring between organisms occurs naturally in the environment, and artificially in the labs and fields. GMOs are the results of genetic engineering process with altered genomes. Hybrids are the results of controlled crosses between related two parental organisms. This is the difference between GMO and hybrid.
1. Caplan, Richard. “GMOs in Agriculture.” Genetically Modified Organisms in Agriculture (2001): 197-203.
2. Phillips, Theresa. (2008). “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Transgenic Crops and Recombinant DNA Technology”. Nature Education. 1(1): 213.
3. Hamilton, Richard. “Agriculture’s Sustainable Future: Breeding Better Crops.”Scientific American. N.p., 29 Aug. 2013. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.