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Tag: hybrid seeds

Difference Between GMO, Hybrid and Heirloom Seeds

Spring plants at a local outlet store.

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.

Difference Between Heirloom And Hybrid Seeds

Grape Tomatoes

What is the difference between heirloom and hybrid seeds? First of all, hybrid and GMO are not the same thing, and a lot of people seem to get that confused. GMOs are Genetically modified organisms. Meaning they have been altered by man on the genetic level.

GMO products can contain genes from organisms that will never meet in the real world. For example, let’s say some scientist splices the genes of a fish into corn seed. There is no way that would ever happen in the real world.

Hybrids

Hybrids are are when plants who are closely related cross pollinate. This happens all the time in the real world.

  • Corn can cross pollinate.
  • Squash and zucchini can cross pollinate.
  • Different types of melons can cross pollinate.
  • Peppers can cross pollinate… etc.
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