“For thousands of years, farmers have been using breeding techniques to “genetically modify” crops to improve quality and yield. Modern biotechnology allows plants breeders to select genes that produce beneficial traits and move them from one organism to another. Plant biotechnology is far more precise and selective than crossbreeding in producing desired agronomic traits.” Croplife International Website 2015
The idea that farmers have been using “genetic modification” for thousands of years is confusing and purposely misleading. There is a big difference between selective breeding and genetic modification. Humans have been selectively breeding animals and plants for thousands of years to produce higher quality. However this has always kept the same genes. Selective breeding only works within species or very closely related species. Genetic modification allows changes and additions to the genes of animals and plants.
The difference is pretty large. In regular cross pollination, the species being crossed have to be related . . . basically respecting their common evolutionary origin. But with GMOs, you can take any gene from any species and splice it into a crop. So you get fish genes in tomatoes or the like” (Joe Mendelson, director of the Center for Food Safety)
So while we are not claiming one is better than the other, the differences are clear.