322 Genetically altered rice could solve Japan’s pollen allergy problem

Speech Materals


Good news for all those who live in Japan and suffer from pollen allergies! Scientists have genetically modified rice in an attempt to desensitize the body to that nasty Japanese cedar pollen that causes all of the sneezing, mask-wearing and eye-watering every spring. Just think, eating some of this special rice everyday could relieve you from all of your hay fever woes!

Scientists at Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo have singled-out the agent in the pollen that causes our immune systems to attack the normally harmless substance. The idea is that if you start intaking the agent a little bit at a time, your body will stop seeing it as the enemy and thus, not react, even when exposed to the substance in higher quantities. It’s a technique called allergy immunotherapy. Usually this desensitization process is done through shots or pills (or by eating lots of strawberries), but because so much of the Japanese population is affected by hay fever and everyone eats rice, scientists thought of a more user-friendly method of medicating: modifying rice to include small amounts of the allergen.

I – Word Understanding
desensitize – to make less sensitive
woes – troubles

II – Have Your Say
It’s believed that about one-third of Japanese citizens experience allergic reactions to the pollen, giving the government cause to deem it a national problem. Let’s take a look at some tools/studies deemed to stop or alleviate Japan’s seasonal allergy:
1. Growing pollenless cedar trees
2. Eating 20 strawberries in one day, everyday
3. Wear the giant USB-powered mask
4. Hang the Virus Blocker around your neck

322 enetically altered rice could solve Japan’s pollen allergy problem

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