Contrary to some reports, the grass is not a GMO plant in the sense in which the term is technically used. A GMO (genetically modified organism) is one whose DNA has been modified by genetic engineering techniques.
Tifton 85 is a Bermuda-derived F1 hybrid. F1 hybrid stands for Filial 1. The first filial generation offspring result from cross mating of distinctly different parental types. The offspring so produced may show specific characteristics that are a combination of the characteristics of both parents.
Raw Story reports that Tifton 85 is the F1 hybrid of African Bermuda grass and an earlier hybrid form called Tifton 68. According to Raw Story, the USDA and the University of Georgia developed it and released it for commercial use in 1992.