The difference between GM- and non-GM-crops has been overestimated, as soon as genetic engineering has been applied to crop breeding. The uncontested understanding among scientists and in particular in the risk assessment community was that GM crops pose some novel risks, unprecedented in conventionally bred crops. This has then condensed in the United Nations Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, which needs to be questioned in certain basic aspects.
After an early phase of risk assessment, including the results of the Asilomar Conference on biosafety, an early divide in risk assessment basic concepts developed between Canada, the USA and Europe including a majority of UN signatory countries. Researchers like Werner Arber, based on earlier molecular insights and on his own experience in genetic engineering claim that related to molecular processes there is no difference between genetically engineering and natural mutation. This transatlantic divide can be solved with some more innovative regulatory proceedings.