您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 科学 >> 正文

艾斯克·威勒斯列夫,用基因重写人类历史

更新时间:2016-5-30 18:44:49 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Eske Willerslev Is Rewriting History With DNA
艾斯克·威勒斯列夫,用基因重写人类历史

COPENHAGEN — As a boy growing up in Denmark, Eske Willerslev could not wait to leave Gentofte,, his suburban hometown. As soon as he was old enough, he would strike out for the Arctic wilderness.

哥本哈根——在丹麦长大的艾斯克·威勒斯列夫(Eske Willerslev),从小就期待离开自己的家乡——位于郊区的根措夫特(Gentofte)。一到差不多的年龄,他就满怀激情地出发前往北极的荒野。

His twin brother, Rane, shared his obsession. On vacations, they retreated to the woods to teach themselves survival skills. Their first journey would be to Siberia, the Willerslev twins decided. They would make contact with a mysterious group of people called the Yukaghir, who supposedly lived on nothing but elk and moose.

艾斯克的孪生兄弟雷恩(Rane)也一样着迷于北极。很多假期,他们在森林里摸索野外生存之道。威勒斯列夫兄弟决定,他们第一次旅行的目的地将是西伯利亚。他们将尝试去拜访神秘的尤卡吉尔人(Yukaghir),据说,尤卡吉尔人以食麋鹿和驼鹿为生。

When the Willerslev twins reached 18, they made good on their promise. They were soon paddling a canoe up remote Siberian rivers.

18岁那年,威勒斯列夫兄弟践行了他们的承诺。很快,他俩就划一叶扁舟沿着西伯利亚的河网顺流而上。

“Nobody knew what you would see on the other side of a mountain,” said Eske Willerslev, who is now 44. “There were villages on the maps, and you wouldn’t even see a trace of them.”

“没人知道山的另一边是什么,”现年44岁的艾斯克·威勒斯列夫说。“当时在地图上标有一些村庄,然而我却连它们的影儿都没看到。”

Dr. Willerslev spent much of the next four years in Siberia, hunting moose, traveling across empty tundra and meeting the Yukaghirs and other people of the region. The experience left him wondering  about the history of ethnic groups, about how people spread across the planet.

此后的四年,威勒斯列夫博士花了很多时间在西伯利亚,猎驼鹿、穿越过空旷的冻原、与尤卡吉尔人和该地区的其他人群交流。因为这段经历,他开始想了解不同族群的历史,人类如何迁徙扩散到全球等问题。

A quarter of a century later, Dr. Willerslev is still asking those questions, but now he’s getting some eye-opening answers.

四分之一个世纪之后,威勒斯列夫博士仍在思索当年的那些问题,但他正在给出一些令人眼前一亮的答案。

As the director of the Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen, Dr. Willerslev uses ancient DNA to reconstruct the past 50,000 years of human history. The findings have enriched our understanding of prehistory, shedding light on human development with evidence that can’t be found in pottery shards or studies of living cultures.

作为哥本哈根大学地质遗传学中心(Center for Geogenetics at University of Copenhagen)的主任,威勒斯列夫博士利用古DNA对过去5万年的人类史进行重建。这些发现大大丰富了我们对于史前史的理解,为人类发展历程的研究提供了新的证据,而这些证据是无法在陶器碎片或现有文化研究中找到的。

Dr. Willerslev led the first successful sequencing of an ancient human genome, that of a 4,000-year-old Greenlander. His research on a 24,000-year-old Siberian skeleton revealed an unexpected connection between Europeans and Native Americans.

威勒斯列夫博士牵头完成了对古人类基因组的首次成功测序,这一古人类为格陵兰人,距今有4000年。威勒斯列夫博士对一具24000岁的西伯利亚骨架进行了研究,结果揭示了欧洲人和美洲原住民之间令人意想不到的联系。

Dr. Willerslev was one of the early pioneers of the study of ancient DNA, and today he remains at the forefront of an increasingly competitive field. His colleagues credit his success to his relentless work and to his skill at building international networks of collaborators.

威勒斯列夫博士是古DNA研究领域的早期先驱之一,直到今天,在这个竞争愈发激烈的领域,他仍处于前沿的位置。同事们将威勒斯列夫博士的成功归于他不懈的努力与在全球范围内建立协作网络的能力。

“His role is that of catalyst, choreographer, conductor and cajoler — and sometimes all at once,” said David J. Meltzer, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University.

“他的角色就像是催化剂、编舞者、指挥家、游说者——有时集全部于一身,”南卫理公会大学(Southern Methodist University)的考古学家大卫·J·梅尔策(David J. Meltzer)说。

The scientific enterprise that Dr. Willerslev helped invent now sometimes crosses into culturally sensitive terrain. Last June, he and his colleagues published the genome of an 8,500-year-old skeleton from Washington State known as Kennewick Man, or the Ancient One.

威勒斯列夫博士协助开创的研究项目某些时候会跨越到一些在文化上较为敏感的领域。去年六月,他和他的同事发表了一位8500年前的人类骨架的基因组信息。这具骨架来自华盛顿州,被称为肯纳威克人(Kennewick Man),又名上古遗者(the Ancient One)。

Native American tribes and scientists fought over control of the bones since theirits discovery in 1996. During his research, Dr. Willerslev met with representatives from the tribes. One tribe agreed to donate DNA for his study.

这一骨架发现于1996年。此后,美洲原住民部落和科学家们就一直在争论这具遗骨的所有权。在研究期间,威勒斯列夫博士和几个部落的代表会面。其中一个部落同意为他的研究捐献DNA。

Kennewick Man, Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues concluded, was related to living Native Americans. That finding led to a momentous announcement last month: The Army Corps of Engineers said it would formally consider the request from the tribes to reclaim the skeleton and bury it.

肯纳威克人,威勒斯列夫博士和同事们的研究表明,与现存的美国原住民存在联系。这一发现引发了上个月(2016年4月)一项重要声明:美国陆军工程兵团(the Army Corps of Engineers)表示,他们将正式考虑原住民部落关于索回并埋葬遗骨的申请。

Rane Willerslev, now a cultural anthropologist at the University of Aarhus, sees his brother’s work as a continuation of their Siberian adventure.

雷恩·威勒斯列夫现为奥胡斯大学(University of Aarhus)的一名文化人类学家。在他看来,兄弟的工作是他们在西伯利亚冒险的延续。

“He just became the kind of scientist he should have become,” Rane Willerslev said. “Anything else would have been wrong.”

“他成为了他应该成为的那种科学家,”雷恩·威勒斯列夫说,“其他(职业)都可能是错误的。”

The First Ancient Human Genome

第一个古人类基因组

It was on their third journey through Siberia, in 1993, that the Willerslev brothers finally found the Yukaghirs. An old man, covered in scars from hunting bears in his youth, led them to a Yukaghir village.

1993年,当威勒斯列夫兄弟第三次来到西伯利亚探险时,他们终于发现了尤卡吉尔人。一位老人,浑身布满年轻时猎熊落下的伤疤,将他们带到尤卡吉尔人部落。

“It was completely different from what I imagined,” Dr. Willerslev said.

“那和我此前想象的完全不同”,威勒斯列夫博士说。

The Yukaghir were not an exotic tribe living in utter isolation. In fact, virtually all of them could count Russians and people from other ethnic groups among their ancestors. The Willerslev twins could find only a single old man who still spoke the native language.

尤卡吉尔人并不是一个完全与世隔绝的奇异部落。事实上,他们几乎所有人的祖先都有俄罗斯人和其他族群的人的血统。威勒斯列夫兄弟只找到一个讲尤卡吉尔人当地语言的老人。

That encounter was fresh in his mind when, back in Denmark, Dr. Willerslev learned that some scientists were extracting DNA from fossil mummies, a technique that might help explain the history of people like the Yukaghir.

回到丹麦后,威勒斯列夫仍然对这段奇遇记忆犹新。他了解到一些科学家从木乃伊骸骨中提取DNA,这项技术可能帮助解释像尤卡吉尔人一样的许多族群的历史。

But there was no one in Denmark doing that research, so one of Dr. Willerslev’s professors suggested a Plan B. They could investigate ancient ice that climate researchers at the University of Copenhagen had brought back from Greenland.

然而在当时的丹麦,没有人从事这种研究。所以威勒斯列夫博士的一个老师就提出一个备选方案:他们可以去研究哥本哈根大学的气候研究学者们从格陵兰带回来的远古冰块。

Dr. WillerslevWillislev and a fellow graduate student, Anders J. Hansen, set up a room where they could search for DNA in the ice cores. And in ice as old as 4,000 years, Dr. Willerslev and Dr. Hansen discovered DNA from 57 species of fungi, plants, algae and other organisms, dating back as far as 4,000 years.

威勒斯列夫博士和当时的一个在读研究生,安德斯·J·汉森(Anders J. Hansen)搭起一间屋子开始进行冰川的DNA研究。那块冰已经有4000年的历史了。威勒斯列夫博士和(日后的)汉森博士从这块冰中找到了57种类群的DNA,包括真菌、植物、藻类与其他微生物,这些类群可追溯到4000年前。

The results were so remarkable for the mid-1990s that NASA called the young doctoral student to ask about his methods.

这些结果在1990年代中期是如此引人注目,美国国家航天局(NASA)甚至都致电这两位年轻的博士学生询问他们的研究方法。

“I got completely convinced that I wanted to become a scientist,” Dr. Willerslev said. “There’s a big difference between reading about what others have discovered and discovering something yourself.”

“我当时完全确信我自己想要成为一个科学家,”威勒斯列夫说,“读别人的发现和亲自去发现新东西非常不同。”

After publishing the ice study in 1999, Dr. Willerslev emailed Russian scientists, who sent him sugar-cube-size chunks of permafrost from Siberia to search for ice age DNA.

在1999年发表那篇和冰川相关的研究后,威勒斯列夫博士给几位俄罗斯科学家发去电子邮件,这些科学家曾给他寄来一些方糖大小的西伯利亚永久冻土,供他寻找冰川时期的DNA。

In the very first cube, Dr. Willerslev hit genetic pay dirt. “You just saw woolly mammoth, reindeer, lemming, bison,” he said. “It was just incredible.”

在第一块冻土中,威勒斯列夫博士就发现了遗传学的“宝藏”。“你竟然可以看到毛乎乎的猛犸象、驯鹿、旅鼠和野牛,”他说,“这简直难以置信。”

Discovering a whole ice age ecosystem in a pinch of frozen dirt helped Dr. Willerslev earn a professorship at the university. He went on to found the Center for GeoGenetics, which now employs more than 100 scientists.

在一小块冻土中发现冰川时代的完整生态系统,这一成就帮助威勒斯列夫博士在大学中取得教职。他随后继续创建了地质遗传学研究中心,那里现在有100多名科学家。

From the start, Dr. Willerslev made finding ancient human DNA one of the center’s top priorities. In 2006, he set out for northern Greenland with colleagues in hopes of finding some.

从一开始,威勒斯列夫博士就把寻找古人类DNA当做中心最重要的任务之一,2006年,他与同事出发前往格陵兰北部,希望能够有所发现。

The scientists searched for animal bones that showed signs of being butchered. They hoped that the hunters might have left behind some of their DNA.

科学家们搜寻的目标是显示出遭到猎杀痕迹的动物的骸骨。他们希望猎人可能会留下自己的一些DNA。

For more than a month, the scientists hacked into the ground, wearing full bodysuits to avoid contaminating the samples. But when they returned to Copenhagen and studied the bones, they were disappointed to find only animal DNA.

在一个多月的时间里,威勒斯列夫博士和他的同事们潜入地下,穿着全套防护服,以免污染样本。然而当他们回到哥本哈根并对遗骨进行研究时,却失望地发现只有动物的DNA。

Not long afterward, Dr. Willerslev discovered that the trip had been unnecessary.

不久,威勒斯列夫博士发现这趟旅行完全没有必要。

In the 1980s, university researchers had found a 4,000-year-old clump of hair in Greenland that had been stored — and forgotten — in a basement. “It was completely ridiculous,” Dr. Willerslev said.

20世纪80年代,高校研究者们已经在格陵兰岛找到了一束4000年前的毛发,它被储存了起来,却被遗忘在了地下室。“这简直太荒唐了”,威勒斯列夫博士说。

Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues extracted DNA from the hair and used powerful new methods to reconstruct the genome of the Greenlander. It was the first time scientists had recovered an entire ancient human genome.

威勒斯列夫博士与其同事从那束毛发中提取了DNA,并以强大的新技术重建了格陵兰人的基因组。这是科学家第一次复原出完整的古人类基因组。

The hair turned out to belong to a man. His blood type was A positive, and he had a genetic predisposition for baldness. But most interesting of all, his genes contained clues about the history of Greenland and the Inuit who live there today.

那束毛发被证实属于一个男人,血型A型Rh阳性,有秃发的遗传倾向。然而最有趣的是,他的基因中包含一些关于格陵兰岛历史和格陵兰岛现居民因纽特人的线索。

“We could see these guys were not the direct ancestors of Inuit people,” Dr. Willerslev said. Instead, the ancient Greenlander belonged to a different group known as Paleo-Eskimos.

“我们能从中看出这些人并非因纽特人的直系祖先,”威勒斯列夫博士说。古格陵兰人属于一个不同的族群——古爱斯基摩人(Paleo-Eskimos)。

Analyzing the ancient genome, Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues concluded that Paleo-Eskimos migrated from Siberia about 5,500 years ago and endured for centuries in Canada and Greenland before vanishing. The Paleo-Eskimos were not the ancestors of today’s Inuits: They were replaced by them.

分析完此人的古基因组之后,威勒斯列夫博士和他的同事们认为,古爱斯基摩人在大约5500年前从西伯利亚离开,来到加拿大和格陵兰岛,并在那里延续了几个世纪直至消失。古爱斯基摩人并非如今因纽特人的祖先,他们被因纽特人取代了。

History Gets Complicated

愈发复杂的历史

In the six years since that report, Willerslev and his colleagues have published a series of studies that have fundamentally changed how we think about human history.

关于因纽特人的报告发表6年后,威勒斯列夫博士和其同事发表了一系列研究,从根本上改变了我们看待人类历史的方式。

Our species evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Scientists are still working out how humans later populated the other continents. A lot of evidence indicates that Native Americans originated from a population somewhere in Asia more than 15,000 years ago. In search of clues to that founding population, Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues examined a 24,000-year-old bone buried near a village called Mal’ta in eastern Siberia.

人类起源于20万年前的非洲。至今,科学家仍在研究人类如何在后来到达其他大陆的。大量证据表明,美洲原住民来自于1.5万年前的一个亚洲人群。为了寻找这个族群的线索,威勒斯列夫博士和他的同事研究了一具距今2.4万年的遗骨,它之前埋在西伯利亚东部一个叫马耳塔的村庄附近。

In a preliminary study, Maanasa Raghavan, a researcher at the genetics center, discovered some DNA in the remains. But the genes seemed to belong to a northern European, not an East Asian.

在初步研究中,遗传学中心的研究员玛纳萨·莱格哈文(Maanasa Raghavan)在遗骨中发现了一些DNA。但是,这些基因似乎来自北欧的人群,而非东亚人群。

“I put it on hold because I thought it was completely contaminated,” Dr. Willerslev said of the research.

“我暂停了研究,因为我以为样本已经被完全污染了。”威勒斯列夫博士如是说。

After he and his colleagues developed more powerful methods for analyzing DNA, Dr. Raghavan and her colleagues returned to the Mal’ta DNA. It was not contaminated: Instead, it was a genome unlike anything they expected.

在他和同事找到更有效的DNA分析方式之后,莱格哈文博士和她的同事们回到对马耳塔男孩DNA的研究上。事实上,样本并没有被污染;相反,这是一个他们完全没有料到的基因组。

Parts of the boy’s genome closely resembled the DNA of ancient Europeans, but more of it resembled that of Native Americans.

这个男孩一部分的基因组接近古欧洲人,但大部分却更像美洲原住民。

“It was really an eye-opener,” Dr. Willerslev said. “This individual has nothing to do with East Asians. He has something to do with Europeans and Native Americans.”

“这个结果真的让人大开眼界,”威勒斯列夫博士说“这个个例和东亚人群完全无关。但他和欧洲人与美洲原住民却有某些联系。”

It appears that the Mal’ta boy belonged to an ancient population spread out across Asia 24,000 years ago. They came into contact with an East Asian population at some point, and members of the two groups had children together. Native Americans are the descendants of those children.

这表明,马耳塔男孩属于一个在2.4万年前遍布亚洲的古代人群。他们和东亚人群在某一时间相遇、结合并生下他们的孩子。美洲原住民就是那些孩子的后代。

The Mal’ta people are not related to the Asians who live in the region today. But before they disappeared, they also passed down their DNA to Europeans. Later research revealed the route those genes took from Asia to Europe.

马耳塔人与如今居住在这片区域内的亚洲人并没有什么联系。但在他们消失之前,他们把自己的基因传递给了欧洲人。之后的研究更解释了这一基因从亚洲到欧洲的传播路径。

In a study published last June, Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues discovered Mal’ta-like DNA in Bronze Age nomads called the Yamnaya, who lived 4,300 to 5,500 years ago in what is now southwestern Russia. About 5,000 years ago, the Yamnaya expanded into Europe, where they added their DNA to the gene pool.

一项去年6月发表的研究表明,威勒斯列夫博士和他的同事们在青铜时代的游牧民族亚姆纳亚(Yamnaya)人中发现了类似马耳塔人的DNA。亚姆纳亚人在4300和5500年前住在今天的俄罗斯西南部。5000年前,亚姆纳亚人扩张到欧洲。他们把自己的DNA混进了当地人群的基因库。

The new research has prompted Dr. Willerslev to give up his earlier belief that the major groups of people in different parts of the world had largely separate genetic histories. “These results made it clear this simplified picture is not the truth,” he said.

这项新研究让威勒斯列夫博士放弃了他早期的主张,即主要人种分布在世界不同地区并且有十分独立的遗传历史。“这些结果表明之前简单化的认识并不符合事实。”威勒斯列夫博士说。

A History of Abuse

滥用的历史

In 2011, Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues made history once again by publishing the first genome of an aboriginal Australian. The research gave him new insights about human history.

2011年,威勒斯列夫博士和他的同事们再次创造了历史。他们发表了第一个澳洲原住民的基因组。这项研究让他对人类历史有了新的认知。

But it also taught Dr. Willerslev a lesson about the ethics involved in studying ancient DNA.

然而,这项研究也让威勒斯列夫博士上了一堂关于古DNA研究的伦理课。

Archaeological evidence shows that humans arrived in Australia at least 50,000 years ago. Scientists have long wondered if the aboriginals on the continent today are descendants of those first settlers, or of later arrivals.

考古证据显示人类至少在5万年前到达澳大利亚。长时间以来,科学家就在思考澳洲大陆上的现存的原住民到底是第一批居住者的后代,还是后来抵达者的后代。

Dr. Willerslev saw a weakness in early genetic studies on aboriginal Australians: Many aboriginals alive today have some European ancestry. He decided to look for an aboriginal genome free of European DNA.

威勒斯列夫博士发现早期关于澳洲原住民的遗传学研究存在一个弱点:很多今天的澳洲土著都有些欧洲血统。他决定去找没有欧洲DNA的原住民基因组。

In 2010, he found a piece of hair collected in Australia in the 1920s at the University of Cambridge. He and his colleagues retrieved DNA from the hair and reconstructed the owner’s genome.

2010年,他在剑桥大学找到一缕于1920年代在澳大利亚收集的毛发。他和同事从中提取DNA并重建毛发主人的基因组。

Their analysis revealed that the ancestors of aboriginal Australians split off from other non-Africans about 70,000 years ago. That finding supports the idea that the first settlers in Australia were the ancestors of today’s aboriginals.

他们的分析显示,澳洲原住民的祖先在7万年前就和其他“非非洲人(non-Africans)”分离了。这一证据支持了“第一批抵达澳大利亚的人是现有原住民的祖先”的理论。

Dr. Willerslev was eager to share the new finding. But one of Dr. Willerslev’s co-authors, Rasmus Nielsen of the University of California, Berkeley, declared that they had made a grave mistake by not getting the consent of living aboriginal Australians.

威勒斯列夫博士迫切地想要分享这一新发现。然而威勒斯列夫博士合作的一个共同作者,加州大学伯克利分校的拉斯姆斯·尼尔森(Rasmus Nielsen),提出他们犯了一个十分严重的错误:他们没有征求现有澳洲原住民的同意。

“It didn’t seem right to circumvent the wishes of the aboriginal community by using that sample,” Dr. Nielsen said. “I was about to remove myself from the study due to these concerns.”

“不征求原住民群体的意见而使用这一样本是不对的,”尼尔森博士说,“基于这些考虑,我打算退出这项研究。”

At first, Dr. Willerslev didn’t understand the fuss. “My view was that human history belongs to all of us because we’re all connected, and no people have a right to stop our understanding of human history,” he said.

一开始,威勒斯列夫博士并不理解这些异议。“我认为,人类历史属于所有人,因为所有人都是相互联系,没有人有权力阻止他人探寻人类历史。”他说。

But Dr. Willerslev decided to travel to Australia to meet with aboriginal representatives. He was shaken to learn of the unethical history of scientific research on aboriginal Australians.

但威勒斯列夫博士仍决定亲自前往澳大利亚一趟,去见见原住民的代表。当他了解到关于澳洲原住民的科研存在诸多不道德的历史时,他深为震惊。

Victorian anatomists plundered burial grounds, for example, and carried off bones to put in museums. Years of such exploitation had left many aboriginal Australians suspicious of scientists.

例如,维多利亚时代的解剖学家曾搜刮很多墓地,并把骨骸带走放在博物馆展览。多年来诸如此类的剥削让许多澳洲原住民无法信任科学家。

Today, geneticists who want to study aboriginal DNA need to obtain consent not just from donors, but from community organizations. And in many cases, there are limits on how widely scientific results can be shared.

今天,遗传学家如果想要研究原住民的DNA,不仅需要征得捐献者的同意,更需要征得原住民群体的同意。而且,在很多情况下,关于科研结果的分享范围也是受到很多限制的。

“Paying attention now, I could see why they had this skepticism and resistance,” Dr. Willerslev said. “In retrospect, I should have definitely approached those people before undertaking the study. Just because it’s legally right doesn’t make it ethically right.”

“如今关注这一点,我才明白他们那时为什么会有这样的怀疑和抵触,”威勒斯列夫博士说,“回想起来,我早应该在研究之前就和他们进行接触。合乎法律并不代表它合乎伦理。”

In Australia, Dr. Willerslev met with the Goldfields Land aAnd Sea Council, which represents aboriginal people in the region where the hair sample had been obtained. He described the results of his analysis and asked for the council’s consent to publish them.

在澳大利亚,威勒斯列夫博士探访了金矿区土地海洋委员会(Goldfields Land and Sea Council),即毛发样本的获取地原住民的代表机构。他介绍了研究的分析结果,并征求委员会的同意,进而发表这些结果。

The council gave him permission. In fact, when the study came out, they praised the results. “Aboriginal people feel exonerated in showing the broader community that they are by far the oldest continuous civilization in the world,” the council said in a statement.

委员会准许了他的请求。事实上,研究出来后,委员会称赞了这一成果。“原住民感到十分欣慰,该研究向更多的人展示他们是目前为止世界上最为古老的文明。”该委员会在一份声明中说。

The New World

新世界

His experiences in Australia have changed the way Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues investigate DNA from indigenous people. “I’ve evolved,” he said.

这段在澳大利亚的经历永远地改变了威勒斯列夫博士和其同事调查原住民DNA的方式。“我进化了。”他说。

In 2011, he learned of a 12,700-year-old skeleton of a baby that had been found in 1968 on the Montana ranch of Melvyn and Helen Anzick. Dr. Willerslev got in touch with the family and received permission to search the bones of the so-called Anzick child for DNA.

2011年,他了解到,1968年美国蒙大拿州梅尔文·安吉克(Melvyn Anzick)和海伦·安吉克(Helen Anzick)所有的农场发现了一个1.27万年前的婴儿的遗骸。威勒斯列夫博士和这一家庭取得联系并获得他们的许可,从安吉克小孩(Anzick child)的骸骨里提取DNA。

Dr. Willerslev was aware that many Native Americans, like aboriginal Australians, have grown suspicious about being exploited by scientists. During the course of his research, he tried to make connections with the local tribes.

威勒斯列夫博士意识到许多美洲原住民,和澳洲原住民一样,对被科学家利用产生怀疑。研究期间,他也尝试和当地原住民部落建立联系。

He contacted the Montana Burial Preservation Board, which protects Native American remains in the state. But the board told him he didn’t need their oversight because the bones were found on private land.

他联系了蒙大拿州安葬保护委员会,该委员会保护全国原住民的遗骨。然而委员会却告诉威勒斯列夫博士,他不需要获得委员会的许可,因为遗骨是在私有土地上发现的。

Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues succeeded in getting DNA out of the bones. Based on his research in Greenland, he had suspected that the child belonged to a vanished population with no close kinship to living Native Americans.

威勒斯列夫博士和同事成功从遗骨中提取到DNA。基于格陵兰岛的研究经验,他怀疑这个小孩属于一个已经消失的族群,这个族群和美洲原住民并没有亲密的血缘关系。

But the genome proved otherwise: The child was closely related to living Native Americans.

然而基因组的分析却显示相反的结果:这个孩子和现存美洲原住民关系密切。

As the preliminary results emerged, Dr. Willerslev was introduced to Shane Doyle, a member of the Crow Tribe who was then a graduate student at Montana State University. Dr. Doyle took Dr. Willerslev to a series of meetings with tribal representatives.

初步结果已经出来了,威勒斯列夫被介绍给谢恩·多伊尔(Shane Doyle),他来自克劳族部落(Crow Tribe),当时正在蒙大拿州立大学读研究生。多伊尔带领威勒斯列夫博士参加了一系列与部落代表的会议。

Many of the people there were interested by the results. But many also told them that the Anzick child skeleton, like other remains found in Montana, deserved a proper burial.

许多部落代表对研究结果表示很感兴趣,但也有很多人说安吉克小孩的遗骨应该和其他在蒙大拿州发现的遗骨一样,以一个合适的方式安葬。

“Their priority was to get the remains back of the ancestors and to re-inter them,” said Francis L. Auld, who was then the program manager of the tribal historic preservation office for the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

“他们更看重取回祖先的遗骨并让他们回到族群之中,”弗朗西斯·奥尔德(Francis L. Auld)说,他当时是赛利希和库特内联合部落(the Confederate Salish and Kootenai Tribes)历史保护办公室的项目经理。

With tribal representatives in attendance, the Anzick family buried the remains in June 2014, four months after the genome paper was published.

2014年6月,在基因组论文发表四个月后,安吉克家族在部落代表的见证下安葬了小孩的遗骨。

“It was a complicated case, and it would have been complicated for anyone,” said Dennis H. O’Rourke, a geneticist at the University of Kansas who was not involved in the research.

“这是件十分复杂的事,而且对每个人来说都很复杂,”堪萨斯大学的遗传学家丹尼斯·欧洛克(Dennis H. O’Rourke)解释说,他本人并未参与这项研究。

He said it would have been best if Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues had been able to confer with the tribes before doing the research. “But I was pleased to see that it was ultimately done,” he said.

他说,如果威勒斯列夫博士和他的同事们能在开始研究前就和部落协商好会更好,“但我很高兴看到这件事最终办成了。”他说。

Dr. Willerslev was then invited to look for DNA in one of the most controversial skeletons ever found: Kennewick Man.

随后,威勒斯列夫博士受邀研究最具争议的遗骨之一——肯纳威克人(Kennewick Man)的DNA。

In 1996, Ripan Mahli, then a graduate student, had tried to find DNA in the newly discovered remains. The methods at the time were too crude for the job, and research on Kennewick Man soon came to a halt as local tribes went to court to claim the bones.

1996年,还是研究生的瑞潘·马利(Ripan Mahli)尝试在当时新发掘出来的遗骨上提取DNA。当时的研究方法过于简陋,对肯纳威克人的研究很快被喊停,因为当地部落告到法庭要求索回遗骨。

After a decade of lawsuits, a team of scientists won the right to study Kennewick Man, and in 2013, Dr. Willerslev was invited to try again to retrieve DNA from the bones, using his latest methods.

经过十年的诉讼,一个科学家团队获得了研究肯纳威克人的权利。2013年,威勒斯列夫博士被邀请参与提取遗骨DNA的工作——使用他最为先进的方法。

As he assembled a team of experts, Dr. Willerslev asked Dr. Mahli, Mahli, now at the University of Illinois, if he’d join. At first Dr. Mahli was reluctant. He had spent years building better relationships between scientists and Native Americans. A study of Kennewick Man might weaken those links.

当威勒斯列夫博士组建专家团队时,他邀请现在伊利诺伊大学工作的马利博士参与研究。一开始,马利博士有些犹豫,此前他花了数年时间建立与美洲原住民建立更好的关系。这项关于肯纳威克人的研究可能会削弱他们之间的联系。

But Dr. Mahli decided to join the team when Dr. Willerslev began meeting with local tribes. “My mind changed when I realized Eske was engaging with these communities,” he said.

当马利博士看到威勒斯列夫博士开始拜访当地部落时,他决定加入这一团队。“当我意识到艾斯克在和这些群体接触后,我改变了主意,”马利博士说。

“He’s has been great through all of this,” Jackie M. Cook, the repatriation specialist for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, said of Dr. Willerslev.

“整个过程他都处理得相当好,”科尔维尔保留区部落联盟(Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation)的修复专家杰克·库克(Jackie M. Cook)这样评价威勒斯列夫博士。

The Kennewick Man genome, like the Anzick child’s, revealed an ancient continuity between living Native Americans and the earliest people in the New World. After Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues published their results last year, John Novembre of the University of Chicago confirmed them at the request of the Army Corps of Engineers.

肯纳威克人的基因组,和安吉克小孩一样,揭示出现今美洲原住民和早期来到美洲新世界定居的居民之间存在延续性。去年,威勒斯列夫博士和同事发表研究结果后,应美国陆军工程兵部队的请求,芝加哥大学的约翰·诺文伯(John Novembre)对这一结果进行了确认。

Dr. Willerslev has mixed feelings about the consequences of his research on Kennewick Man.

关于肯纳威克人研究的结果,威勒斯列夫博士心情复杂。

“I’m a scientist, and it means I regret that important material is getting reburied,” he said. “But when you find that these remains are genetically Native Americans, it’s not our call anymore.”

“作为一个科学家,我对于重新埋葬如此重要的研究材料感到十分可惜,”他说,“但当你发现这些遗骨在基因上属于美洲原住民时,它就不再是我们说的算的了。”

Since the Kennewick Man project, Dr. Willerslev has hosted visits from a number of Native American tribes to his laboratory in Copenhagen. His guests have helped him see how differently he, as a European, treats history than they do.

肯纳威克人项目之后,威勒斯列夫博士在哥本哈根的实验室接待了许多美洲土著代表。这些客人也让他明白,作为一名欧洲人,他对待历史的方式和他们有着怎样的不同。

Dr. Willerslev once proudly showed off a collection of ancient Danish skulls to Native American visitors, only to find them upset by the sight.

威勒斯列夫曾自豪地向美洲原住民参观者展示古丹麦人的头骨收藏,却发现他们对此感到失望。

“‘How can you treat your ancestors like that, so disrespectfully?” he recalls them asking.

“你怎么能这样对待你的祖先呢,如此不敬?”他记得那些客人是这么问的。

In December, Dr. Willerslev hosted Dr. Doyle along with Ben Cloud and Frank Caplett, also members of the Crow Nation. Dr. Willerslev took them around the lab and proposed research he hoped the tribe would consider.

12月,威勒斯列夫接待了多伊尔博士,以及同为克劳族的本·克劳德(Ben Cloud)与弗兰克·卡普莱(Frank Caplett)。威勒斯列夫带他们参观了实验室,并希望部落对他提出的研究计划加以考虑。

Dr. Willerslev would like to investigate the influence of genes on the high rate of diabetes in Native Americans, for example. He has started similar work in Australia.

例如,威勒斯列夫博士希望调查基因对美洲原住民糖尿病高发率的影响。他已在澳大利亚展开了类似的研究。

Mr. Cloud said he was intrigued by the idea. “I have family members who were younger than I am who are gone because of this disease,” he said. “How come my family is dying?”

克劳德先生表示他对研究很感兴趣。“在我的家族里,比我年轻的家人因为这种病而离开人世,”他说,“我的家人为何因此死去呢?”

Dr. Willerslev also raised the possibility of studying Crow DNA to understand their history. Dr. Doyle said he doubted the tribe would be interested.

威勒斯列夫同时也提出能否研究克劳部落的DNA,以了解他们的历史。多伊尔博士说,他怀疑克劳部落可能不会感兴趣。

“We’ve had white people coming in and telling us things for a long time, and it’s never really impressed us much,” he said.

“之前也有白人过来,花很长时间试图说服我们。但我们从未被他们的提议真正打动过。”他说。

Dr. Willerslev accepts that kind of rejection as part of his work. “We have to respect that as scientists,” he said. “We don’t have to agree.”

威勒斯列夫博士早已把被拒绝看做他工作的一部分。“作为科学家,我们必须尊重这些,”他说,“但并不是必须要赞同。”

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表