Eli5: Could selective breeding be considered a type of genetic modification?


I’m referring specifically to plants with this question. I know that modern genetic modification is done in a laboratory, moving genomes around to achieve desired traits and whatnot. What I got to wondering about is whether or not selective breeding could be considered a long term type of genetic modification.

In: 0

A good observation. At the end of the day, selective breeding, and genetic engineering are doing the same things: 4 types of molecules are rearranged differently on the DNA sequence and are read differently by the organism’s cells to produce a different effect. DNA is DNA and still is just an arrangement of those 4 molecules. At a genetic scale neither route has left anything different or noticeable within the genome that could be used to tell them apart, other than how different they look from their immediate parent and ancestor plants.

the main difference in classifying them lies in how they were changed, and while biologically yes ultimately both methods are genetically modifying the current and future organisms for our own gain, its kept separate for a variety of other reasons, economic, political, etc, as the differences here are more important.

Absolutely! For example, a lot of the fruits and vegetables you eat today were unrecognizable and did not exist many years ago, but came due to selective breeding and hybridization.

For example, bananas used to have lots of large, hard seeds. What you call a lemon today is a hybrid between bitter oranges and citrons.

This link has some more examples: