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用细菌制造新人类? – 译学馆
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用细菌制造新人类?

Can We Create New Humans With Bacteria?

有什么东西看起来是科学怪人出品 那就是科学家们正在合成的人造生命
In what seems like the stuff of Frankenstein, scientists are synthesizing artificial life.
为什么要违背自然呢 这其中有什么好处
But why mess with nature, what benefit could there possibly be?
嗨 DNA爱好者
Hello DNA-enthusiasts.
我是Dnews的Lissette
Lissette here for Dnews.
科学家们正在创造人造生命
Scientists are creating artificial life.
这看起来是不是与科学怪人用各种零件组装怪物有异曲同工之处
What some are doing is freakishly similar to how Frankenstein assembled his monster
但不同的是 他们没有用随机得来的人体部分和电流
with different pieces – but in their cases, instead of using random body parts and electricity
来刺激产生有意识体 科学家们用无核细胞和染色体
to spring creatures to life – scientists are using empty cells and chromosomes and infusing
将它们与真菌或细菌融合
them with fungal and bacterial life.
相比于制造出一个大型怪物 他们造出了很多微小的生物
And instead of ending up with one monster, they end up with many tiny creations.
为什么这么做
Why?
因为这些小生物可能带来巨大的回报
Because the payoff of this artificial life can be huge.
遗传学家用各种序列来构建合成生命
Geneticists use various processes to construct synthetic life.
在2008年发布在《Science》上的一个例子看来 研究者试图合成支原体
In one example published in Science in 2008, researchers managed to synthesize a mycoplasma
那是一种细菌
– that’s a type of bacteria.
科学家通过将支原体的原始染色体剪切
Scientists achieved this by first breaking down the mycoplasma’s original genome into
成101个片段 他们称其为 — 基因盒
101 pieces, which they called “cassettes”.
接下来是构建新型细菌 他们取1-4个之前得到的基因盒
Then to create a new artificial form of the bacteria, they took 1 to 4 of these cassettes
插入宿主细菌的染色体中 大肠杆菌或酿酒酵母
and inserted them into a host bacteria’s chromosome: either E.Coli or S. cerevisiae
也就是啤酒酵母
aka brewer’s yeast.
这步骤使得研究者们可以创造出各种组合的
The process enabled researchers to create many different combinations of artificial
人造细菌
bacterial life.
当时 这简直是里程碑式的成就 但从那时开始 科学家将弗兰肯式生命进行
At the time, this was a huge landmark achievement, but since then, scientists have taken Franken-life
到另一个层面 并不是说他们创造了多么复杂的生命
to the next level; that’s not to say the life they created was more complex.
恰恰相反
In fact, quite the opposite.
最近 美国克雷格·文特尔研究所的科学家已经可以合成支原体
Just recently, scientists at the J Craig Venter Institute were able to synthesize a Mycoplasma
仅用了473个基因的小型染色体
bacterium with an incredibly small genome just 473 genes.
与人类的2 5000个基因相比 这简直
To put that number into perspective a human has about 25,000 genes.
现在你可能会觉得把那么多时间花在创造这么简单的有机体上没必要
Now it may seem futile for researchers to spend so much time creating such a simple
但这些小人造生命可以告诉我们哪些基因
organism, but this tiny artificial bacterium can actually tell us a lot about which genes
是构成生命的必要组成部分
are considered the building blocks of life.
当一个有机体携带庞大的基因组 想要了解
When you have an organism with a large genome, it’s incredibly difficult to understand
每个基因的作用就很困难了
the role of each individual gene.
所以这些小段的合成基因可以帮助科学家们分离出特定的基因
So this small synthesized genome can help scientists isolate specific genes that they
通过开关基因来了解其作用
may want to turn on or off to see what happens.
如果删去某个特定的基因导致细胞死亡
If the cell dies when one particular gene is taken out, then scientists know that gene
科学家就会知道这个基因对生命是至关重要的
is essential for life.
另外 与人类不同 这些小东西可自我复制
What’s more, because unlike human life, these organisms can self replicate, scientists
因此可以进行相互比较
can have a slew of these organisms to make comparisons.
本质上科学家们用这些技术来调控基因
Now, potentially scientists can use these techniques to manipulate genes – change them
通过一些途径来改变 或将外源基因插入
in some way – or introduce foreign genes into an organism.
这也是人们担心合成人造生物的是在扮演上帝的源头
Which is why some are worried that synthesizing artificial life is too much like playing god.
然而 有些科学家相信合成细菌有长远的意义
However, some scientists believe that synthetic bacterial life can have significant benefits.
此外 提高基因编辑技术和药物研发
In addition to advancing gene editing techniques and drug development; it could even help us
甚至可以帮助我们开辟一条用免疫系统抵抗疾病的新途径
find new ways to use our own immune system to fight off disease.
但前提是 现在很多重要的问题被解决
But before that happens, there are some questions that remain to be answered, like whether the
例如 合成细菌中的染色体表达是否包含全部基因
chromosomes present in synthesized bacterial cells contain the entire spectrum of genes…
值得关注的是 这些基本的基因组可能并不是组成我们DNA
the concern here is that these basic genomes may not really be representative of the building
的重要基石
blocks that make up our own DNA.
还有 如果我们能更好地理解生命的基石 思考需要什么能够完成
Still, if we can better understand life’s building blocks, think of what could be accomplished….we
我们就能清楚是什么导致阿尔兹海默症 什么东西供养了我们的细胞
could figure out what is causing alzheimer’s disease, what feeds our cells, what influences
什么影响了我们的认知能力 可能性是无穷无尽的
our cognitive abilities…the possibilities are endless.
伙计们 我们很高兴能够进驻综合型咨询网Seeker.com 也是Dnews的大本营
Guys, we are thrilled to launch an all-new Seeker.com, which is home to all of DNews’
还可以阅览文章 图片 另外还有超级棒的视频涉及科学 世界
episodes, plus articles, photos, and more great videos about science, the world, and
还有探索
exploration.
好希望你们能去看看
We can’t wait for you to see it.
点击下方描述中的链接 希望你能将你喜欢的
Click the link in the description below; we hope you’ll share any favorite stories or
故事或新闻分享给朋友们
news with your friends.
你们想知道什么样的基因修饰
What types of gene modifications would you want to see?
你会在哪里开始剪切
Where would you draw the line?
在评论区与我们分享你的看法 如果不想错过新一期的Dnews记得订阅我们哟
Share your thoughts in the comments and remember to subscribe so you never miss an episode of Dnews.
谢谢观看
Thanks for watching.

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