Monsanto has given up trying to introduce modern food science to Europe and that has been a windfall for legacy methods of genetic modification.

Now, BASF and DuPont are eating into continental market share using mutagenesis, which mimics the sun’s irradiation of plants, to create herbicide-resistant crops. It's obviously nothing new, before activists discovered worries about precise genetic modification they expressed no concern at all about the older mutagenesis techniques that produced thousands of varieties of lettuce, oats, rice, and other crops.

BASF today licenses its technologies to 40 of the world’s biggest seed companies, including DuPont and Syngenta (SYENF), which in turn sell high volumes of mutant breeds, ranging from wheat to sunflowers, in markets that reject genetically engineered seeds. 

Because it is not the same kind of genetic modification modern science can do, it faces almost no regulation, and it creates opportunities for companies to grab a bigger share of the $34 billion global commercial seed market.

But precise genetic modification came into existence for a reason; these mutant crops are more likely to pose health risks than genetically modified ones.

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