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科学家首次成功编辑人类胚胎基因

更新时间:2017-8-3 10:21:19 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

In Breakthrough, Scientists Edit a Dangerous Mutation From Genes in Human Embryos
科学家首次成功编辑人类胚胎基因

Scientists for the first time have successfully edited genes in human embryos to repair a common and serious disease-causing mutation, producing apparently healthy embryos, according to a study published on Wednesday.

周三发表的一项研究显示,科学家们首次成功编辑了人类胚胎中的基因,修复了一个常见的严重致病突变,获得了似乎很健康的胚胎。

The research marks a major milestone and, while a long way from clinical use, it raises the prospect that gene editing may one day protect babies from a variety of hereditary conditions.

这项研究是一个重要的里程碑,虽然投入临床还有很长的路要走,但基因编辑可能有一天会保护婴儿免受各种遗传性疾病威胁的前景变得光明起来。

But the achievement is also an example of human genetic engineering, once feared and unthinkable, and is sure to renew ethical concerns that some might try to design babies with certain traits, like greater intelligence or athleticism.

但是,这项成就也是一度让人觉得害怕和不可思议的人类基因工程肯定会重新引发伦理担心的一个例子,有些人可能会尝试设计具有某些特征的婴儿,如更高的智力或运动才能的婴儿。

“We’ve always said in the past gene editing shouldn’t be done, mostly because it couldn’t be done safely,” said Richard Hynes, a cancer researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who co-led the committee. “That’s still true, but now it looks like it’s going to be done safely soon,” he said, adding that the research is “a big breakthrough.”

“过去我们总是说不应该做基因编辑,那主要是因为它无法安全地完成。”麻省理工学院癌症研究员理查德·海因斯(Richard Hynes)说,“现在也是如此,但如今看来,不久它就会很安全了。”他还说,这项研究是一个“重大突破”。

Scientists at Oregon Health and Science University, with colleagues in California, China and South Korea, reported that they repaired dozens of embryos, fixing a mutation that causes a common heart condition that can lead to sudden death later in life.

俄勒冈卫生科技大学(Oregon Health and Science University)的科学家与加利福尼亚、中国和韩国的同事们在报告中表示,他们修复了数十个胚胎中的一个突变,这种突变会引起一种常见的心脏病变,让人在之后猝死。

If embryos with the repaired mutation were allowed to develop into babies, they would not only be disease-free but also would not transmit the disease to descendants.

如果这种突变被修复的胚胎发育成为婴儿,那么他们不仅不会患上这种疾病,也不会把病遗传给后代。

The researchers averted two important safety problems: They produced embryos in which all cells — not just some — were mutation-free, and they avoided creating unwanted extra mutations.

研究人员避免了两个重要的安全问题:他们生产的胚胎中,所有的细胞——不只是部分——都没有发生突变;另外,他们还避免了产生不必要的额外突变。

Potentially, it could apply to any of more than 10,000 conditions caused by specific inherited mutations. Researchers and experts said those might include breast and ovarian cancer linked to BRCA mutations, as well as diseases like Huntington’s, Tay-Sachs, beta thalassemia, and even sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis or some cases of early-onset Alzheimer’s.

按理说,这种做法可以适用于由特定遗传突变引起的一万多种病症中的任何一种。研究人员和专家说,这些病症包括与BRCA突变相关的乳腺癌和卵巢癌、亨廷顿舞蹈病、家族黑蒙性白痴、地中海贫血症,甚至是镰状细胞性贫血症、囊性纤维化,或早发型阿尔茨海默症的一些病。

“You could certainly help families who have been blighted by a horrible genetic disease,” said Robin Lovell-Badge, a professor of genetics and embryology at the Francis Crick Institute in London, who was not involved in the study.

“你肯定能够帮助那些被可怕的遗传病纠缠的家庭,”伦敦弗朗西斯·克里克研究所(Francis Crick Institute)的遗传学和胚胎学教授罗宾·洛维尔—巴格(Robin Lovell-Badge)说道(他没有参与这项研究)。

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