Difference between Transgenesis and Selective Breeding

Transgenesis and Selective Breeding are two techniques of genetic modification where there is gene transfer between two organisms in one technique, and selection of parents in the other technique, to obtain an offspring with desirable traits. Let us find out what happens when, only at BYJU’S.

What is Transgenesis?

Transgenesis is the phenomenon of transfer of genes from one organism to another by genetic engineering techniques. The gene that is transferred is known as a transgene. Genetic engineering techniques such as plasmids and gene gun are used to transfer the genes.

A desirable sequence of DNA is first identified and isolated using restriction enzymes. The gene can be identified by using the technique DNA microarray. The sequence is then transferred to a vector and then inserted into the target organism.

Transgenic organisms are a kind of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). They have been used to produce plants with high yield and pest resistance, in transgenic mice to study human diseases and in various genetic models.

What is Selective Breeding?

Selective breeding is another technique of genetic modification that does not involve the transfer of genes. Animal and plant breeding is done by selecting which male and female species can be crossed to reproduce an offspring.

Animal breeding is a professional technique where the breeder chooses the parents that are purebred with desirable traits to produce an offspring. The offspring are then called hybrids. Chickens are bred to obtain a better yield of eggs and meat, dogs are bred to produce specific qualities and characteristics in the offspring.

Plants breeding can be done by amateurs as well, and it began with the aim of domestication of wild plants.

Let us now find out the differences between Transgenesis and Selective breeding in the table below.


Selective Breeding


Transgenesis is the phenomenon of transferring genes from one organism to another to obtain offspring with desirable traits.

Selective breeding is a technique where breeders select parents for mating, to obtain offspring with desirable traits.

Time period

The desirable traits can be seen in the next generation.

The desirable traits take 2-3 generations to appear as a phenotype.

Organisms involved

Distant or non related organisms can take part in gene transfer.

Only related organisms can be bred together.


It involves the identification, isolation and insertion of the gene into another organism.

It involves the selection of parents and mating them.

Skill required

It is a tedious process, and thus requires skilled and experienced people to perform the technique.

It does not require skilled people.


The offspring can develop severe allergic reactions, and testing on animals often raises ethical questions.

Selective breeding generation after generation can cause inbreeding depression.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between breeding and selective breeding?

Breeding is a natural process of mating between two species, whereas selective breeding is an artificial process where humans intervene and select organisms to mate.

What are the two differences between selective breeding and transgenic manipulation?

In transgenic manipulations, scientists create a new combination of genes, whereas in selective breeding genes combine on their own.

Why do we do transgenesis?

Transgenesis allows better yield, vigour, quality and quantity in the offsprings.

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