I don't like spam! spam.spam at
Tue Nov 3 11:28:43 EST 1998

On 3 Nov 1998 07:09:27 -0800, wise at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU wrote:

>I just made up this statement.  Is it true?  If true, can it be improved?
>I'm shooting for an intro botany course.
>"Pollen from wind-pollinated angiosperms is a major cause of allergies
>because wind is a non-specific pollinator and therefore the specificity of
>pollen/stigma interaction is carried by protienaceous "recognition factors"
>on the surface of the pollen grain.  These factors cause an allergic
>reaction when they come into contact with human mucus membranes in the nose
>and eyes."
I'm not sure I agree with this statement.

Yes, because wind pollenation is inefficient in comparison to most
insect/animal pollenation, larger amounts of these pollens need to be
produced. As a result, people tend to get exposed to larger amounts of
these pollens. But to make a blanket statement implicating all
wind-born pollen with allergic reactions is not correct.

Sensitivity to pollen varies greatly within the human population.
While I am no expert, I would be willing to bet that the species of
wind-pollenated plants whose pollen can cause allergic reactions
within human populations are in the minority. Because some DO cause
allergic responses, they get a lot of attention.

You may wish to consult with an allergist on identifying those species
within an area responsible for allergies, and then compare those with
the total amount of wind-pollenation plants in that same area.

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