What are the differences between genetically modified organisms (GMO) sometimes called GM, hybrid and heirloom seeds? Some people think hybrid and GMO are the same thing – they are not the same.
GMO – Genetically modified organisms. The seed has been modified on the genetic level. For example, a scientist may splice the gene from a fish into a corn seed. In nature that could never happen.
Hybrid – Cross pollination between two related species. For example, cross breed a horse and a donkey and you get a mule. A mule is a hybrid between two closely related species. In the plant kingdom, closely related plants can cross pollinate. If the seeds from a hybrid are saved, the seeds may be sterile. If the seeds do grow, the plant may not be like its parents.
Heirloom – Pollinated by its own species. Saved seeds will bear true to form. The seeds can be saved from this plant, and replanted over and over.