Difference Between GMO and Selective Breeding

Selective breeding is the practice of using species with desirable qualities (and hence with genetic material) to breed the next cycle while avoiding species without the characteristic. Selective breeding has been used to raise animals for hundreds of years.

GMOs are plants and animals that have had their genes altered by scientists using DNA from various types of living creatures, microbes, or pathogens to achieve desirable features There are many more minute differences between the two types of breeding and hence, this article will limelight the basic and constructional differences between the two.

GMO vs Selective Breeding

The main difference between GMO and Breeding is that genetically modified organisms or GMOs, cause modifications to the genetic code of the creature, whereas selective breeding doesn’t alter the genetic code and material at all. Additionally, selective breeding involves crossing two individuals of the same species i.e. it is an intra-species mode of breeding with desirable qualities, whereas genetic engineering involves introducing foreign genes with desired features into the species.

GMO vs Selective Breeding

A GMO is a plant, animal, microbe, or other creature whose genetic composition has already been altered in a facility using genetic modification or genetic manipulation. This results in vegetable, animal, fungal, and viral gene combinations that do not exist on earth or can only be obtained through traditional interbreeding procedures.

Humans utilize selective breeding, sometimes referred to as artificial selection, to create new species with desired attributes. A breeder uses specific breeding to choose a single parent with desirable etiological factors to reproduce, resulting in offspring with all those traits.

Selective breeding is the practice of breeding biological material with the goal of developing certain qualities in progeny by selecting mates with the desirable qualities for reproduction.

Comparison Table Between GMO and Selective Breeding

Parameters of ComparisonGMOSelective Breeding
DefinitionA GMO is a plant, animal, microbe, or other creature whose genetic composition has already been altered in a facility using genetic modification.Humans utilise artificial selection or selective breeding to create new species with desired traits.
Genetic CombinationGenetic combination is heavily manipulated by the genetic engineers. Natural combination with no manipulation in the genetic coding.
PioneerFirst GMO in 1973.Numerous types of selective breeding have been practised since the stone age.
Time PeriodRapid and in the same progeny as cultured.Generation-wise changes take place.
OrganismsIntra as well as inter species mode of breeding.Intra-species mode of breeding only.

What is GMO?

The insertion of additional genetic information to a crop or individual animal genome is known as genetically modifying or genetically modified organism (GMO). It underpins the notion of transgenics, whereby an organism is genetically changed to include genetic changes that result in new traits, such as the synthesis of proteins for public health or the activation of a gene for herbicide plant defense, to mention a few examples.

Many of the things we use on a regular basis are genetically modified. The Non-GMO Program works carefully to establish the much more comprehensive, up-to-date criteria regarding non-GMO certification as the number of GMOs accessible for industrial use expands every year.

GMOs are commonly used to modify microbes to generate desired chemical compounds (e.g. insulin); and to modify crops to boost yield, durability, or susceptibility to antibiotics, pests, herbicides, and other environmental factors. Wheat changed with a scorpion protein to make it drought-resistant, strawberries altered with bacterial genes to make them last longer, rice treated with daffodil genetics to make testing phase, and so on are examples of GMOs.

What is Selective Breeding?

Selective breeding is the practice of breeding biological material like microbes and plants with the goal of developing certain qualities in progeny by picking males and females with the desirable qualities for a generation. Animal breeds, as well as plant varieties, are man-made variants of the very same plants or animals variety.

The breeder’s goal in selective breeding would be to keep just those features of the species and variants that are interesting and can be passed forward. The mating of different individuals with unique genetic traits is known as selective breeding.

This choice is carried out by humans in this case. As a result, this is an example of marker-assisted selection which is a type of artificial handpicked selection in operation.

The following are the steps in the selective mating process: Selection of crucial features, selection of parents from such a diverse population who exhibit the specified characteristics, mating the selected individuals together, selecting a suitable offspring, and continuing the cycle for generations to achieve the ideal progeny with the desirable characteristics. Selective breeding seeks to improve a species’ desired features.

Producers, for example, generally prefer to gather seed from the biggest and tastiest watermelon fruits when selecting watermelon seeds before planting in the next season can be good initiation for selective breeding.

Main Differences Between GMO and Selective Breeding

  1. GMO is an artificially manipulated breeding method whereas selective breeding involves a natural breeding method.
  2. GMO can be intra as well as inter-species whereas selective breeding only occurs in intraspecies.
  3. GMO is a sub-type of genetic engineering whereas selective breeding is a sub-type of artificial selection.
  4. GMO is expensive whereas selective breeding is a simple and cheaper procedure.
  5. GMO instantaneously gives results in the current progeny generation whereas selective breeding takes generations to take effect fully.
Difference Between GMO and Selective Breeding


GMO is the process of altering an organism’s genetic information by inserting foreign DNA into its chromosomal structures. As a result, it necessitates the use of certain procedures and settings.

Selective breeding, on the other hand, is the pairing of two individuals of the same species that have specific characteristics in common. As a result, this procedure does not necessitate the use of specialized equipment or personnel.

The fundamental distinction between selective breeding and genetic engineering, however, is the sort of alterations each process makes to the DNA. Furthermore, genetically modified organisms have outperformed selected hybrid progenies in terms of efficiency.


  1. https://www2.nau.edu/~gaud/bio301/content/selbrd.htm
  2. https://ag.purdue.edu/GMOs/Pages/WhatareGMOs.aspx
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