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Linking Grass Pollen Biodiversity and Human Health: an Environmental Genomic Approach

Brennan, G. and Adams-Groom, Beverley and Barber, A. and Clewlow, Y. and De Vere, N. and Griffith, G. and Hegarty, M. and McInnes, R. and Osborne, N. and Petch, Geoffrey and Skjøth, C. and Wheeler, B. and Creer, S. (2016) Linking Grass Pollen Biodiversity and Human Health: an Environmental Genomic Approach. In: British Ecological Society, Annual meeting, 11-14 December, Liverpool, UK. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In Europe and the UK, grass pollen is the single most important outdoor aeroallergen; 27% of the population are sensitised to grass pollen. Grass pollen allergy has been linked to increased risk of allergic asthma exacerbations, which can lead to hospitalisation and fatalities. Sensitivity towards grass pollen varies between species, of which there are over 150 in the UK. However, due to few unique morphological features, grass pollen from different species cannot be discriminated using traditional observational methods. Currently, there is no way of detecting, modelling or forecasting the aerial-dispersion of pollen from the biodiversity of UK grasses. Consequently, grasses are coalesced into a single group in the UK forecast. PollerGEN is an interdisciplinary NERC project with the aim of revolutionising the way that pollen dispersion is measured and forecast, with concomitant synergies for understanding the ecology of aerial dispersed pollen. In collaboration with the UK Met Office, a key goal is to build a more accurate forecast of individual grass pollen species. Using environmental genomics, we will identify which species of grass pollen are present during the summer months across 16 specific collection sites in the UK, and measure the abundance of the different allergenic species of grass. The information will be used to model the spatial and temporal deposition of different species of grass pollen and identify linkages to human health. The project therefore aims to provide a paradigm shift in our understanding of the ecology of windborne pollen in time and space and inform the public about the timing and environmental factors that put them at risk of exposure to pollen they are allergic to; a key strategy in the prevention of allergy and asthma attacks.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Uncontrolled Keywords: grass pollen, morphological features, modelling, forecasting, biodiversity PollerGEN project, National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit, NPARU
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Academic Departments > Institute of Science and the Environment
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Depositing User: Carsten Skjoth
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2016 11:48
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2016 16:20
URI: https://eprints.worc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5142

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