How is a hybrid different from a GMO?

Both hybrids and genetically modified plants are created to maximize yield, shelf-life, disease resistance and other benefits that make the product more profitable to produce and affordable to the consumer. However, you will not find GMOs among certified organic products.

Where do fruit and vegetable hybrids come from?

A hybrid is obtained by cross-pollination of two varieties or related plant species. A new hybrid, the kale and Brussels sprouts, has recently been bred from kale and brussels sprouts. In the next year or two it will start to appear on store shelves.

Cross-breeding of genetically compatible plants can occur both in nature and on farmland, with human participation. This is how grapefruit, a hybrid of pomelo and sweet orange, appeared on farmers’ plantations in the 18th century. The Honey Crisp apple variety was developed in the 1960s with a more serious scientific approach at the Horticultural Research Center at the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station.

No matter how the hybrid was obtained, it is not GMO and there is no danger of eating it.

How are GMOs made?

In order to obtain a genetically modified product, part of the DNA of a bacterium, virus or other plant or animal is inserted into the original DNA – such “experiments” with genes are impossible in nature.

Hybridization of fruits and vegetables gives a greater diversity of varieties, but the same cannot be said of GMOs. In 80% of cases, DNA modifications are made to increase plant resistance to herbicides: the toxic composition of herbicides kills weeds and pests, but to date, research on the effects of this chemistry on human health is still scarce.

This is why the topic of GMOs is so controversial and it is impossible to speak unequivocally about the danger or harmlessness of such products.