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马蹄蟹的血有什么用? – 译学馆
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马蹄蟹的血有什么用?

Why do we harvest horseshoe crab blood? - Elizabeth Cox

在温暖的月份 尤其是满月的夜晚
During the warmer months, especially at night during the full moon,
马蹄蟹为了产卵浮出海面
horseshoe crabs emerge from the sea to spawn.
等待它们的是科研团队
Waiting for them are teams of lab workers
他们在成千上万个马蹄蟹中进行捕捉
who capture the horseshoe crabs by the hundreds of thousands,
带回实验室
take them to labs,
收集它们天蓝色的血
harvest their cerulean blood,
然后将它们放回大海
then return them to the sea.
奇怪的是 我们在沙滩上抓马蹄蟹
Oddly enough, we capture horseshoe crabs on the beach
因为那是我们唯一知道的它们出没的地方
because that’s the only place we know we can find them.
每年一只雌马蹄蟹到达海滩
A female horseshoe crab lays as many as 20 batches of up to 4,000 eggs
产下20批卵 多达4000颗
on her annual visit to the beach.
卵孵化过后
When the eggs hatch,
幼年马蹄蟹通常待在海岸附近
the juvenile horseshoe crabs often stay near shore,
一边成长一边褪壳
periodically shedding their shells as they grow.
一旦它们离开浅海
Once they leave these shallow waters,
下一次重返就是十年后的性成熟
they don’t return until they reach sexual maturity ten years later.
尽管我们努力探寻 仍不知道在这期间它们在哪儿
Despite our best efforts, we don’t know where they spend those years.
虽然我们在海底两百米深的地方
Though we’ve spotted the occasional horseshoe crab
偶然发现过马蹄蟹
as deep as 200 meters below the ocean’s surface,
我们也只看到一大群马蹄蟹前往海滩产卵
we only see large groups of adults when they come ashore to spawn.
马蹄蟹的血含有名为阿米巴样的细胞
Horseshoe crab blood contains cells called amebocytes
能保护它们免受病毒
that protect them from infection by viruses,
真菌
fungi,
和细菌的感染
and bacteria.
阿米巴样细胞在入侵者周围形成胶体
Amebocytes form gels around these invaders
阻止感染扩散
to prevent them from spreading infections.
这就很不寻常
This isn’t unusual.
所有动物都有防护的免疫系统
All animals have protective immune systems.
但马蹄蟹的阿米巴样细胞对于
But horseshoe crab amebocytes are exceptionally sensitive
细菌性内毒素格外敏锐
to bacterial endotoxins.
内毒素是细菌细胞壁的分子
Endotoxins are molecules from the cell walls of certain bacteria,
包括大肠杆菌
including E. coli.
细菌细胞死亡 大量大肠杆菌释放出来
Large amounts of them are released when bacterial cells die,
如果进入血管 我们便会生病
and they can make us sick if they enter the blood stream.
我们依赖的许多药物及医学设备会被污染
Many of the medicines and medical devices we rely on can become contaminated,
因此在其进入血液之前必须进行检测
so we have to test them before they touch our blood.
我们有一种名为格拉姆的试剂来检测细菌
We do have tests called Gram stains that detect bacteria,
但是它不能分辨内毒素
but they can’t recognize endotoxins
尽管没有病毒的地方 内毒素也存在
which can be there even when bacteria aren’t present.
因此科学家使用从马蹄蟹血液中提取的
So scientists use an extract called LAL
鲎阿米巴样细胞溶解物
produced from harvested horseshoe crab blood
来检测内毒素
to test for endotoxins.
他们将鲎阿米巴样细胞溶解物放入样本中
They add LAL to a medicine sample, and if gels form,
如果形成胶体 内毒素就存在
bacterial endotoxins are present.
如今 鲎阿米巴样细胞溶解物测试已广泛使用
Today, the LAL test is used so widely
许多人从没有见过马蹄蟹
that millions of people who’ve never seen a horseshoe crab
却受到它们的血液的保护
have been protected by their blood.
如果你曾输过血 可能你也包括其中
If you’ve ever had an injection, that probably includes you.
被采集了特殊血液的马蹄蟹将何去何从?
How did horseshoe crabs end up with such special blood?
与其他无脊椎动物一样
Like other invertebrates,
马蹄蟹有一套开放式机体循环系统
the horseshoe crab has an open circulatory system.
也就是说他们的血液不像我们的血管
This means their blood isn’t contained in blood vessels, like ours.
马蹄蟹的血在身体里自由流通
Instead, horseshoe crab blood flows freely through the body cavity
与各个组织直接接触
and comes in direct contact with tissues.
如果细菌进入血液 便会快速地大面积扩散
If bacteria enters their blood, it can quickly spread over a large area.
与脆弱性相成对的是
Pair this vulnerability
海水及马蹄蟹栖息的海岸充满了细菌
with the horseshoe crab’s bacteria-filled ocean and shoreline habitats,
便能理解他们为什么需要灵敏的免疫系统
and it’s easy to see why they need such a sensitive immune response.
马蹄蟹从生物集群灭绝中幸存
Horseshoe crabs survived mass extinction events
而那几次灭绝消灭了地球上超过90%的生物 包括恐龙
that wiped out over 90% of life on Earth and killed off the dinosaurs,
但马蹄蟹也不是无敌的
but they’re not invincible.
数百万年来 对它们最大的破坏来自我们人类
And the biggest disruptions they’ve faced in millions of years come from us.
研究显示 有高达15%的马蹄蟹
Studies have shown that up to 15% of horseshoe crabs
在采集血液的过程中死亡
die in the process of having their blood harvested.
并且最近研究表明 数字可能更高
And recent research suggests this number may be even higher.
研究人员也观察到 返回主要捕捉地区
Researchers have also observed fewer females returning to spawn
产卵的雌性马蹄蟹寥寥无几
at some of the most harvested areas.
除了生物医药 我们对马蹄蟹的干扰还在扩展
Our impact on horseshoe crabs extends beyond the biomedical industry, too.
沿海开发破坏了了产卵地
Coastal development destroys spawning sites,
鱼饵也令马蹄蟹致命
and horseshoe crabs are also killed for fishing bait.
大量证据表明它们的数量急剧减少
There’s ample evidence that their populations are shrinking.
一些研究人员开始研究
Some researchers have started working
如何在研究室里合成马蹄蟹血
to synthesize horseshoe crab blood in the lab.
如今 要我们不去海滩旅行不太可能
For now, we’re unlikely to stop our beach trips,
但还好 某天合成的替代物将取缔我们
but hopefully, a synthetic alternative will someday eliminate our reliance
对古老生物的血的依赖性
on the blood of these ancient creatures.

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视频概述

马蹄蟹,又名鲎,是一种古老的生物,它的血液对生物医药领域做了巨大贡献。

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgEbcQxFUu8

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