The key difference between GMO and transgenic organism is that GMO is an organism that has an artificially altered genome, while the transgenic organism is a GMO that has an altered genome containing a DNA sequence or gene from a different species.
Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and transgenic organism are two terms we use interchangeably. Both types of organisms have an altered genome that has been modified artificially. However, there is a slight difference between GMO and transgenic organism. Although both have altered genomes, a transgenic organism is a GMO containing a DNA sequence or a gene from a different species. Thus, all transgenic organisms are GMOs, but not all GMOs are transgenic.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is GMO
3. What is Transgenic Organism
4. Similarities Between GMO and Transgenic Organism
5. Side by Side Comparison – GMO vs Transgenic Organism in Tabular Form
What is GMO?
GMO is an organism that possesses an altered genome. Their genome has been genetically modified at the DNA level by scientists. Thus, GMOs are resultants of genetic engineering. When scientists identify genes that code for an important or valuable trait, they recombine those genes into vectors and transform them into desired host organisms. Therefore, the main principle of developing GMO is the recombinant DNA technology. Once the interest gene or DNA sequence is transformed into the host, the host expresses the inserted gene and produces the desired trait. Transgenic organisms are a group of GMOs. They have a foreign DNA sequence or gene within their genome. Some GMOs have an altered genome without receiving anything from a different organism. Their own DNA has a modification due to either turning off or turning on an important gene. Arctic apple is one example of GMO.
Plant genetic engineering is an interesting field of science. Many crop plants have been genetically modified so far to obtain a higher yield, more consistent products, resist pests, pesticides, build seedless fruits, etc. Some are transgenic plants. Generally, genetic modifications of plants increase the nutritional value or flavor. Overall it increases the quality of foods.
What is a Transgenic Organism?
A transgenic organism is a genetically modified organism. It has an altered genome. The alteration is due to the insertion of a foreign DNA sequence or a gene from a different organism. Therefore, in simple words, a transgenic organism carries a DNA sequence of a different organism. GloFish is an example of a transgenic organism. In this way, transgenic organism receives a characteristic which was absent within it previously.
Transgenic plants are more popular than transgenic animals. Golden rice is one of the best examples of transgenic plants. It is a modified rice that produces beta-carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A. Soybean, corn, canola, tobacco and maize are more examples for transgenic crops.
What are the Similarities Between GMO and Transgenic Organism?
- A transgenic organism is a GMO.
- Both GMO and transgenic organism have a genetically modified genome.
- Moreover, their genomes have been modified at the DNA level.
- Both have a genetic modification.
What is the Difference Between GMO and Transgenic Organism?
GMO is an organism that contains genetically modified genome. A transgenic organism is a GMO that carries an altered genome containing foreign DNA. Thus, all transgenic organisms are GMOs. So, this is the key difference between GMO and transgenic organism.
Summary – GMO and Transgenic Organism
Both GMO and transgenic organism have genetically modified genomes. All GMOs are not transgenic. However, all transgenic organisms are GMOs. Transgenic organisms have a DNA sequence received from a different organism. GMO can have an altered genome due to receiving it from another organism or due to genetically changing the own genome. Therefore, this is the summary of the difference between GMO and transgenic organism.
1. “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Transgenic Crops and Recombinant DNA Technology”
Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, Available here.
2. Barrell, Amanda. “Pros and Cons of GMO Foods: Health and Environment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, Available here.
3. “Transgenic Organisms.” Genetics Generation, Available here.