The main difference between selective breeding and genetic engineering is that selective breeding does not cause any alteration in the genetic material of the organism whereas genetic engineering brings changes to the genetic material of the organism. Furthermore, selective breeding is involved in the crossing of two organisms of the same species with desired characteristics while foreign genes with desired characters are introduced into the organism during genetic engineering.
Selective breeding and genetic engineering are two methods used to produce organisms with desired characters.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Selective Breeding
– Definition, Process, Importance
2. What is Genetic Engineering
– Definition, Process, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Selective Breeding and Genetic Engineering
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Selective Breeding and Genetic Engineering
– Comparison of Key Differences
Cisgenic, Foreign DNA, Genetic Engineering, Selective Breeding, Transgenic
What is Selective Breeding
Selective breeding is the mating of two organisms with particular genetic characteristics. Here, this selection is done by humans. Therefore, this is a type of artificial selection. The steps of the selective breeding process are as follows.
- Selection of important characteristics
- Choosing parents that show the selected characteristics from a mixed population
- Breeding the selected parents together
- Choosing the best offspring with the desired characteristics
- Repeating the breeding process over many generations in order to obtain an offspring, all showing the desired characteristics.
Moreover, disease resistance and high yield are the two main characteristics used in the selection of parent organisms for selective breeding.
One of the groups of plants which has significantly maintained a selective breeding process over many generations is the modified strains of the wild mustard plant (Brassica oleracea). These modified strains are cauliflower (flower buds), cabbage (terminal leaf buds), Brussels sprouts (lateral leaf buds), broccoli (flower buds and stem), kale (leaves), and kohlrabi (stem).
What is Genetic Engineering
Genetic engineering or genetic modification (GM) is the alteration of the genome of a particular organism by introducing a piece of foreign DNA encoded for the desired character. Here, based on the origin of the foreign DNA piece, two types of organisms are formed. Here, when the foreign DNA piece belongs to the same species, the producing organism is known as cisgenic. On the other hand, when the foreign DNA piece belongs to different species, the producing organism is known as transgenic.
Moreover, foreign DNA piece is inserted into the plasmid vector to produce recombinant DNA. Then, this recombinant vector is transformed into the host. Now, the host organism is known as a genetically modified organism (GMO). Genetic engineering is employed in the production of GMOs for academic, agricultural, medical, and industrial purposes.
Similarities Between Selective Breeding and Genetic Engineering
- Selective breeding and genetic engineering are two methods used to produce new organisms with desired characters.
- Both are artificial methods that occur under the influence of humans.
Difference Between Selective Breeding and Genetic Engineering
Selective breeding refers to the process of modifying the characteristics of living things in order to enhance one or more desirable traits by the selection in breeding, controlled by humans. In contrast, genetic engineering refers to the deliberate modification of the characteristics of an organism by manipulating its genetic material. Thus, this is the fundamental difference between selective breeding and genetic engineering.
Introduction of Foreign Genetic Material
Selective breeding does not introduce foreign DNA into the genome while genetic engineering introduces foreign DNA into the genome. This is another difference between selective breeding and genetic engineering.
Moreover, selective breeding is done through the selection of mating partners artificially while genetic engineering is done through the introduction of recombinant plasmids to the host organism.
Also, selective breeding does not require specific equipment and trained people while genetic engineering is an efficient way of producing organisms with the desired trait.
Furthermore, selective breeding takes time and limited traits can be altered while genetic engineering is an expensive method and requires specific equipment. Hence, this is another difference between selective breeding and genetic engineering.
Selective breeding is the mating process of two organisms of the same organism with desired characters. Hence, this method does not require special equipment and people. On the other hand, genetic engineering is the alteration of the genetic material of an organism by introducing foreign DNA into the genome. Therefore, it requires specific techniques and conditions. However, the main difference between selective breeding and genetic engineering is the type of changes brought to the genome by each method.
1. “Montage of dogs” By Peter WadsworthHeike AndresPleple2000Lilly MSaNtINa/kIKsPleple2000Pleple2000Steve Jurvetson (CC BY 2.5) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Genetically Engineered Animals (23533118540)” By The U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Genetically Engineered Animals (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia