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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are at least two ways to look at this question.

First, we can say that the existence of genetically modified organisms (GMO) as crops is significant because of its potential positive economic, environmental, and health impacts.  GMO crops might become very important in increasing the yields that farmers achieve.   They might allow farmers to achieve higher yields while using fewer chemicals.  These advances would be especially welcome in less developed countries.  In these countries, farmers might be able to grow higher-yield crops even without modern fertilizers and pesticides that they could not afford.  This would greatly increase the health of people in these countries.

Second, we can say that the existence of these crops is significant because it is so controversial.  There are many people, at least in the rich world, who believe that these crops are dangerous.  They fear that the crops might have negative impacts on both the environment and on people’s health.  They worry that these impacts have not been seen yet because the use of GMOs is at a relatively low level and that these impacts will arise if GMO use continues and grows.

Thus, the existence of GMOs is significant both for its positive potential and for the controversy it stirs up in the present.