Genetic modification is also called biotechnology, gene splicing, recombinant DNA technology, or genetic engineering.
Contemporary genetic modification was developed in the 1970s and essentially transfers genetic material from one organism to another.
The modification of organisms has existed for centuries in the form of plant-breeding techniques (such as cross-fertilization) used to produce desired traits.
With genetic modification, however, isolated genes are inserted into plants for a desired trait with a much quicker result than occurs when cross-breeding plants, which can take years.
These isolated genes do not have to come from similar species in order to be functional; theoretically, genes can be transferred among all microorganisms, plants, and animals.