SPE005 Reading Comprehension

Section 3: Reading Comprehension

Questions 1 – 5: Choose the best multiple-choice answer for each question.

The creation of human organs in a laboratory could become a reality at a UAE-backed research centre in London that is adapting 3D printing to create functioning tissue. A new technique from the Zayed Centre for Research into Rare Disease in Children involves 3D bio-printing near or around microscopic organs, grown from stem cells in the lab and known as organoids. “These 3D structures then act as barriers to guide the growth of the mini organs in specific directions or patterns”, Dr Giovanni Giobbe, the co-lead author of the research, told The National. (Excerpt from ‘Zayed Centre makes breakthrough in using 3D printing for human organs’, thenationalnews.com, 2023)

Where is the research being done?

In the UAE
In London
At Zayed University
The Children’s Museum

I was born on July 30, 1863, on a farm in Dearborn, Michigan, and my earliest recollection is that, considering the results, there was too much work on the place. That is the way I still feel about farming. There is a legend that my parents were very poor and that the early days were hard ones. Certainly they were not rich, but neither were they poor. As Michigan farmers went, we were prosperous. The house in which I was born is still standing, and it and the farm are part of my present holding. (Excerpt from ‘My Life and Work’, Henry Ford, 1922)

What is the speaker’s opinion of his parents?

They were rich
They were poor
They were somewhere between rich and poor
The passage doesn't say

Each year, twin brothers and sisters from across the planet travel to Twinsburg, Ohio, to participate in the Twins Days Festival, taking place this year on August 4-6. It is the largest gathering of twins in the world, and it will get even larger if current trends prevail.

From about 1915 to 1980, one out of every 50 babies born in the United States was a twin. That number has since skyrocketed to one out of 30, and there’s no indication it is abating. Although still rare, the dramatic increase in twin births can mean more negative health consequences for mothers of twins and her children, including premature births and low birth weight.

But for geneticists, twin births are something to celebrate. Twins provide a trove of biological information that scientists cannot get anywhere else. They’re valuable in helping scientists understand diseases and other conditions, including eating disorders, obesity, sexual orientation, and various psychological traits.

Twin studies can also give researchers new insights into how different lifestyles and habits affect two people with the same genetic blueprint. Studying twins is extremely useful in examining the effects of genetic and environmental factors that can influence inherited traits across generations.

For example, Scott and Mark Kelly were once identical twin brothers. Then Scott Kelly spent a year in Earth’s orbit aboard the International Space Station and all that changed. When he landed, he was two inches (5 cm) taller, had a lot less body mass, and according to NASA researchers, aspects of his DNA had changed. He and his brother were no longer identical.

Scott’s year in orbit changed his immune system, the way his bones formed, and his eyesight, along with other biological functions. Most of those genetic changes returned to normal. However, researchers found 7 percent of his gene expressions had also changed. Gene expressions determine whether genes turn off and on, which can change how cells function. Scientists were not alarmed because environmental factors, in this case the stress of space travel, can affect this process. Consequently, Scott’s body quieted some genes while amplifying others.

Though his gene expressions changed, his DNA did not. Moreover, that Scott and Mark are no longer “identical” didn’t come as a surprise. At the most basic sequence level, chemical changes can occur over time, affecting where and how genes are expressed, even in identical earthbound twins. In reality, Mark and Scott Kelly haven’t been “identical” for years. (Excerpt from ‘Twins can become ‘unidentical’—and more fascinating twin facts’, nationalgeographic.com, 2023)

According to the passage, how has the rate of twin births in the United States changed over the years?

It has decreased steadily since 1915.
It has remained constant at one out of 50.
It has increased to one out of 30.
It has become unpredictable.
How did Scott Kelly's year in space affect his genes?
His genes became completely different from his brother's.
His DNA changed significantly due to space travel.
His gene expressions turned off completely.
Some of his gene expressions were altered temporarily.
Why were scientists not concerned about the changes in Scott Kelly's gene expressions?
They believed his DNA had also changed.
They understood that environmental factors can influence gene expressions.
They attributed the changes to genetic mutations.
They thought the changes were irreversible.
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