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Hybridization vs. Cross Breeding: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 9, 2024
Hybridization involves breeding genetically different species or varieties, while cross-breeding is mating within the same species for specific traits.

Key Differences

Hybridization is the process of combining different genetic materials from distinct species or varieties to produce a hybrid. It often involves species that wouldn't typically mate in nature. Cross-breeding, however, involves mating individuals from the same species but different breeds or lines, focusing on enhancing specific traits.
Hybridization aims to create an organism with desirable traits from two different species, often leading to increased vigor or new traits. Cross-breeding is typically aimed at improving or enhancing specific traits within the same species, such as disease resistance or yield in plants, or temperament and strength in animals.
The process of hybridization can be more complex, involving careful selection from two different species, and sometimes assisted by technological methods like genetic engineering. Cross-breeding usually follows traditional breeding practices, selecting parent breeds within the same species to achieve desired traits over generations.
Hybrids resulting from hybridization may show a wide range of unpredictable traits, sometimes leading to entirely new characteristics. In contrast, cross-breeding often results in offspring that have predictable traits, based on the known qualities of the parent breeds.
Hybridization is widely used in agriculture to create new crop varieties with superior qualities, and in animal breeding for specific purposes, like mules (horse and donkey). Cross-breeding is commonly seen in dog breeding to combine traits of different breeds, or in agriculture to develop crops with specific desired traits like drought tolerance.

Comparison Chart

Genetic Diversity

Combines genetics from different species or varieties.
Involves genetics within the same species.


To create new traits or increased vigor.
To enhance or improve specific traits.


Can involve complex and technological methods.
Typically follows traditional breeding practices.


Results in wide range of traits, often new.
Produces offspring with predictable traits.


Used to create new crop varieties or unique animal hybrids.
Common in improving breeds of domestic animals or crop strains.

Hybridization and Cross Breeding Definitions


"Hybridization introduces new traits into a species."
Hybridization introduced disease resistance into certain crops.

Cross Breeding

"Cross breeding is mating within the same species for specific traits."
Cross breeding in cattle improved milk production.


"Hybridization can lead to increased vigor in offspring."
The hybrid plants from hybridization showed enhanced growth.

Cross Breeding

"Cross breeding often results in predictable offspring traits."
The cross bred plants consistently showed improved drought tolerance.


"Hybridization results in a hybrid, combining traits from two sources."
The liger is a result of hybridization between a lion and a tiger.

Cross Breeding

"Cross breeding is confined to breeding within the same species."
Cross breeding different chicken breeds resulted in better egg-laying capacity.


"Hybridization is the breeding of two different species or varieties."
Corn's improved drought resistance was achieved through hybridization.

Cross Breeding

"Cross breeding involves selecting parents from the same species."
Through cross breeding, they developed a dog with a gentle temperament.


"Hybridization is used in both agriculture and animal breeding."
Hybridization led to the creation of several high-yield crop varieties.

Cross Breeding

"Cross breeding aims to enhance desirable traits in offspring."
They used cross breeding to increase wool quality in sheep.


To produce hybrids; crossbreed.

Cross Breeding

Infl of cross-breed


To form base pairs between complementary regions of two strands of DNA that were not originally paired.

Cross Breeding

A type or instance of breeding separate strains of the same species in order to create new traits.


To cause to produce a hybrid; crossbreed.

Cross Breeding

A type or instance of breeding members of similar albeit distinct species, e.g. a mule from a horse and donkey.


The act of hybridizing, or the state of being hybridized.


(chemistry) The linear combination of atomic orbitals in a molecule to form hybrid orbitals.


The process of breeding a mixed offspring from two different strains or species of animal or plant


(genetics) The formation of double-stranded nucleic acid by complementary base-pairing


(transport) the conversion of a fleet of vehicles to hybrids.


The act of hybridizing, or the state of being hybridized.


(genetics) the act of mixing different species or varieties of animals or plants and thus to produce hybrids


What are the goals of hybridization?

Hybridization aims to produce offspring with new traits or increased vigor.

Can hybridization occur naturally?

Yes, hybridization can occur naturally but is more often a controlled process in breeding.

What is a common example of hybridization?

A mule, the offspring of a horse and donkey, is a common example.

Are hybrids from hybridization always fertile?

No, hybrids like mules are often sterile.

What is hybridization?

Hybridization is the process of breeding between different species or varieties to create a hybrid.

What is cross breeding?

Cross breeding is mating within the same species to enhance specific traits.

Are hybrids more vigorous than their parents?

Hybrids often exhibit increased vigor, known as hybrid vigor or heterosis.

Can hybridization enhance disease resistance?

Yes, it's often used to introduce disease resistance in plants.

What is the main purpose of cross breeding?

The main purpose is to improve or enhance certain characteristics within the same species.

Is cross breeding common in agriculture?

Yes, it's widely used to develop crops and livestock with desired traits.

How predictable are the results of cross breeding?

Cross breeding generally yields more predictable results than hybridization.

Can cross breeding improve plant yield?

Yes, it's a common method to improve yield in crops.

Is hybridization more complex than cross breeding?

Generally, yes, due to involving different species and sometimes advanced breeding techniques.

Can cross breeding result in new species?

No, cross breeding does not create new species, but can result in new breeds or varieties.

How does cross breeding affect genetic diversity?

It can increase genetic diversity within a species by combining different breeds.

Does hybridization involve genetic modification?

Not necessarily, but it can be part of genetic engineering.

Are cross bred animals typically used for specific purposes?

Yes, like dairy cows bred for milk production or dogs bred for certain behaviors.

How do hybrids differ from their parent species?

Hybrids often have a mix of traits from both parent species, sometimes leading to unique characteristics.

How long has cross breeding been practiced?

Cross breeding has been practiced for thousands of years in agriculture and animal husbandry.

What are the risks of hybridization?

Risks include sterility in offspring and unpredictable traits.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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