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Chinese Scientist Who Says He Edited Babies’ Genes Defends His Work

来源:纽约时报    2018-11-29 05:56

        A Chinese scientist who claims to have created the world’s first genetically edited babies said at a conference on Wednesday that his actions were safe and ethical, and he asserted that he was proud of what he had done. But many other scientists seemed highly skeptical, with a conference organizer calling his actions irresponsible.        一位声称创造了世界上第一批基因编辑婴儿的中国科学家在周三的一次会议上表示,他的行为是安全和合乎道德的,他坚称为自己所做的事感到骄傲。但许多科学家对此似乎高度怀疑,一位会议组织者称他的行为不负责任。
        “For this specific case, I feel proud, actually,” the scientist, He Jiankui, said at an international conference on genome editing in Hong Kong.        在香港举行的一个基因组编辑国际会议上,科学家贺建奎说,“事实上,对于这个具体案例,我感到自豪。”
        Indeed, the only thing Dr. He apologized for was that news had “leaked unexpectedly” that he had used the gene-editing technique Crispr to alter embryos and then implanted them in the womb of a woman who gave birth to twin girls this month.        的确如此,贺建奎唯一道歉的是这起新闻的“意外泄露”。他使用基因编辑技术Crispr改变胚胎,然后将它们植入本月生下一对双胞胎女儿的女性的子宫里。
        Dr. He’s announcement of his embryo editing on Monday sent a thunderbolt through the scientific world. Scientists have been working assiduously to prevent just such a rogue use of the rapidly advancing technology for making changes in human DNA.        贺建奎周一发表的有关其胚胎编辑工作的声明震惊了科学界。防止将迅速发展的技术如此简单粗暴地应用于改变人类的DNA,科学家们做了很大的努力。
        Scores of scientists — including many of the top-flight genetics experts gathered in Hong Kong for what they had expected to be a much less newsworthy conference — have called Dr. He’s conduct unethical. They say there are serious unanswered questions about the safety of embryo editing and a need to make sure that such research is conducted in a transparent, monitored way so the technology isn’t misused.        许多科学家——包括为参加香港这场原本预计不那么有新闻价值的会议而前来的很多顶尖遗传学专家——称贺建奎的行为不道德。他们说,胚胎编辑的安全性存在严重的未解问题,因此需要确保以透明、受监控的方式进行这类研究,以免技术被滥用。
        And Dr. He’s presentation Wednesday afternoon did not seem to mollify many of his colleagues’ concerns.        贺建奎周三下午的报告似乎并没有缓解许多同行的担忧。
        Immediately after his presentation, David Baltimore, a Nobel laureate who led the conference’s organizing committee, told the audience that what Dr. He had done “would still be considered irresponsible.”        在他做完报告后,大会组委会负责人、诺贝尔奖得主大卫·巴尔的摩(David Baltimore)立即告诉观众,贺建奎所做的一切“仍将被视为不负责任”。
        Dr. Baltimore added, “I don’t think it has been a transparent process. We only found out about it after it happened, and after the children were even born. I personally don’t think it was medically necessary.”        巴尔的摩补充说,“我认为这不是一个透明的过程。我们是在事情发生后,甚至在孩子出生后才知道的。我个人认为,这在医学上没有必要。”
        Robin Lovell-Badge, a professor of genetics and embryology at the Francis Crick Institute in London who moderated the session, asked a question that he said was on many attendees’ minds.        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-巴奇(Robin Lovell-Badge)主持了会议,并提出了他认为一个许多与会者都在思考的问题。
        “Why so much secrecy around this, particularly when you know the general feeling around the scientific community is we shouldn’t go ahead yet?” Dr. Lovell-Badge asked. “You know the accusation now is that you’ve broken the law. If you had involved the Chinese authorities, they might have said you can’t do it.”        “为什么要这么保密?尤其是当你知道科学界的普遍感觉是,我们现在还不应该这样做的时候,”洛维尔-巴奇问道,“你知道现在的指控是你已经违反了法律。如果中国政府知道你的计划,他们也可能会说你不能这样做。”
        After Dr. He’s presentation, the director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis S. Collins, issued a scathing denunciation, calling it “a deeply disturbing willingness by Dr. He and his team to flaunt international ethical norms.”        贺建奎演讲后,美国国家卫生研究院(National Institutes of Health)院长弗朗西斯·S·科林斯(Francis S. Collins)进行了措辞严厉的斥责,称此次演讲中“贺建奎及其团队表现出的对国际道德准则的藐视令人深感不安”。
        “It is profoundly unfortunate that the first apparent application of this powerful technique to the human germline has been carried out so irresponsibly,” Dr. Collins said, calling for international consensus on setting limits for such research. “Without such limits, the world will face the serious risk of a deluge of similarly ill-considered and unethical projects. Should such epic scientific misadventures proceed, a technology with enormous promise for prevention and treatment of disease will be overshadowed by justifiable public outrage, fear, and disgust.”        “非常不幸,这种强大技术在人类生殖细胞上的首次应用,是以如此不负责任的方式进行的,”科林斯呼吁国际社会就限制此类研究达成共识。“如果没有这样的限制,世界将面临大量同样欠考虑和不道德的项目的严重风险。如果这种科学大灾难继续下去,一项在预防和治疗疾病方面有着巨大前景的技术,将被公众正当的愤怒、恐惧和厌恶所淹没。”
        When Dr. He, 34, walked onstage in an open-collar shirt carrying a tan briefcase, it was clear this would be no ordinary conference presentation. Although his appearance had been previously scheduled, Dr. Lovell-Badge said Dr. He had earlier “sent me the slides he was going to show in this presentation and it didn’t include anything that he is going to talk about today.”        当34岁的贺建奎穿着不打领带的衬衫、提着一只棕色公文包走上讲台时,显然,这不会是一次普通的会议发言。洛维尔-巴奇说,虽然他参会是早已安排好的,但早些时候曾“把他要在这次演讲中展示的幻灯片给我,里面并没有他今天要讲的内容”。
        Facing a packed auditorium of scientists and members of the media, Dr. He also acknowledged that he had not made his university in China aware of the research he was doing.        会议中心里挤满了科学家和媒体人士,贺建奎也向众人承认,他所在的中国大学对他所做的实验完全不知情。
        But he asserted that he had not been overly secretive about his work, saying that he had presented preliminary aspects of it at conferences and consulted with scientists in the United States and elsewhere. He said he had submitted his research to a scientific journal for review and had not expected to be presenting it at this conference.        但他断言,他并没有对自己的工作守口如瓶,并说,自己已经在一些研讨会上展示了初步的研究成果,并与美国和其他地方的科学家进行了讨论。他说,已经将研究成果递交给了一份科学期刊评审,本来无意在这次会议上公布。
        And he insisted that the parents of the twins and seven other couples who had participated in his research were fully informed of the risks involved, and that they understood what was being done to their embryos.        他坚持认为,这对双胞胎的父母和其他七对参与其研究的夫妇,都充分了解了其中的风险,而且也明白要对他们的胚胎做什么。
        “The parents were informed of the implication of this,” Dr. He said. “We reminded them of the option to leave the trial without implantation, or to choose the embryos. The couple elected to implant these embryos to start a two-embryo pregnancy.”        “告诉过婴儿的父母,”贺建奎说。“我们提醒他们,可以于植入前退出研究,或选择植入的胚胎。不过最终参加者选择此双胞胎并开始怀孕。”
        Showing a series of slides, he quickly described what he said was three years of work involving mice, monkeys and then human embryos. He used the editing technique, Crispr-Cas9, to disable a gene, called CCR₅, which creates a protein that makes it possible for H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, to infect people’s cells.        在展示了一系列幻灯片后,他很快描述起他所说的涉及小鼠、猴子和人类胚胎的三年研究。他利用编辑技术Crispr-Cas9使一个名为CCR₅的基因失效,该基因会产生HIV——也就是导致艾滋病的病毒——感染细胞所需要的蛋白质。
        Dr. He said that with the help of an H.I.V./AIDS organization in China, he recruited eight couples in which the man had H.I.V. and the woman did not. One couple dropped out and another achieved a “chemical pregnancy,” a pregnancy which fails soon after the embryo is implanted in the womb.        他说,在一个HIV/AIDS组织的帮助下,他招募了八对夫妇,都是男方为HIV携带者,女方不是。其中一对夫妇退出,还有一对则出现“化学妊娠”,也就是胚胎植入子宫后不久即告流产。
        After editing the CCR₅ genes, he said he used in vitro fertilization to create embryos that were resistant to H.I.V. The goal, he said, was to engineer babies who would not be vulnerable to H.I.V. infection.        在编辑CCR₅基因后,他说他使用体外受精来制造可以抵抗HIV的胚胎。他说,目标是设计不会感染HIV的婴儿。
        Many scientists have noted that there are other, simpler ways to protect newborn babies of an infected parent, especially an infected father, from getting H.I.V. Embryo editing should be used only to prevent or treat dire medical conditions that cannot be addressed in any other way, they said.        许多科学家已经指出,还有其他更简单的方法可以保护父母一方受到感染的婴儿染上HIV,尤其是父亲受到感染的情况下。他们说,胚胎编辑应该只用于预防或者治疗无法以任何其他方式解决的严重疾病。
        But Dr. He suggested that the parents of the twins, especially the H.I.V.-positive father, saw the procedure as a way to recapture their reason for living.        但贺建奎指出,双胞胎的父母,尤其是携带HIV的父亲,认为这个过程令他重新获得生活的理由。
        “I feel proudest, because they had lost hope for life,” Dr. He said. “But with this protection, he sent a message saying he will work hard, earn money, and take care of his two daughters and his wife for this life.”        “我非常自豪,因为他们本来失去了对生活的希望,”贺建奎说。“但有了这种保护,他发来短信,说他会努力工作挣钱,下半生会好好照顾两个女儿和太太。”
        Scientists also objected to indications that Dr. He had not fully informed his colleagues, his university or the parents about what exactly he was doing. For example, while the consent form he gave to potential parents mentioned gene editing in the text, it initially describes the research as an “AIDS vaccine development project.”        有迹象表明贺建奎没有完全告知同事、大学或父母自己究竟在做什么,科学家们对此也表示反对。例如,虽然他给潜在父母的同意书在文本中提到了基因编辑,但它最初将该研究描述为“艾滋病疫苗研发项目”。
        Dr. He appears not to have sought approval from Chinese regulators, and he waited months to list his research in a Chinese clinical trial registry, not doing so until early November.        贺建奎似乎也没有从中国监管机构获得批准,他等了好几个月都未将这项研究在中国临床试验系统注册,直到11月初才这样做。
        “Science is open, science is collaborative and communicative,” Feng Zhang, one of the inventors of the Crispr-Cas9 system and a core member of the MIT Broad Institute, said after Dr. He’s presentation. “What he has done was not transparent. It was against the community’s consent and it does not represent science.”        “科学是开放的,科学是协作和交流的”,Crispr-Cas9系统的发明者之一,麻省理工学院布罗德研究所(Broad Institute)核心成员张锋在贺建奎的发言之后说。“他做的事并不透明。违反了业界的共识,并不代表科学。”
        In addition, The Associated Press reported that Dr. He’s lab allowed some of the medical staff assisting with the project to believe that they were involved in conventional IVF efforts that also included mapping genomes — nothing that involved editing embryos.        此外,美联社报道,贺建奎的实验室令一些协助该项目的医务人员相信,自己参与的是传统的IVF工作,其中包括绘制基因图谱——并不涉及任何编辑胚胎的内容。
        While Dr. He said the twins were “born normally and healthy,” other scientists questioned how healthy they would turn out to be. Dr. He said that in one of the twins, both copies of the CCR₅ gene were disabled, but that in the other twin, only one copy was.        虽然贺建奎说这对双胞胎已“正常、健康地出生”,但其他科学家质疑她们究竟能有多健康。贺建奎说,双胞胎中的其中一人身上,CCR₅基因的两个副本都被禁止,但在另一人身上,只禁止了一个副本。
        That suggests that the twin with one disabled copy is still vulnerable to H.I.V. infection, scientists said. And Maria Jasin, a developmental biologist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, pointed out to Dr. He that family dynamics could be affected “with the two girls being different, and this being something of an enhancement, not a disease correction.”        科学家说,这表明只被禁止了一个副本的孩子仍然容易受到HIV感染。纪念斯隆-凯特琳癌症中心(Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)的发育生物学家玛丽娅·杰辛(Maria Jasin)向贺建奎指出,“两个女孩是不同的,这是一种增强,而非疾病纠正,”因此,家庭状况可能受到影响。
        Dr. He said the parents were fully informed and that they decided to implant both embryos. He said the mother declined to have amniocentesis to check for genetic abnormalities during the pregnancy.        贺建奎说,父母完全知情,他们决定植入两个胚胎。他说,母亲拒绝进行羊膜穿刺检查,以检查怀孕期间的遗传异常情况。
        He said he planned to “monitor the twins’ health for the next 18 years, with the hope they will consent as adults for continued monitoring and support.” He referred to the girls by the names Lulu and Nana.        他说他计划“在未来18年监测双胞胎的健康状况,希望她们成年后能够同意继续接受监测和支持”。他用露露和娜娜来称呼两个女孩。
        Dr. He said he initially paid for the research himself, then later from his university funding. He said he covered his patients’ medical expenses personally, and that neither of the two genomics companies he founded had paid for anything.        贺建奎说,他最初是自己支付研究费用,后来又获得大学资助。他说他个人承担了病人的医疗费用,而且他所创立的两家基因组公司都没有为此出资。
        The birth of gene-edited children is alarming for both practical and theoretical reasons. First and foremost are safety concerns.        出于实务和理论上的原因,基因编辑儿童的诞生令人震惊。最首要的是安全问题。
        Most earlier efforts to edit embryos in a laboratory dish have resulted in some unintended effects, like off-target mutations that can occur in other genes, or mosaicism, in which the altered gene appears in some cells but not others. Scientists do not know the consequences of such effects.        大多数早期在实验室培养皿中编辑胚胎的努力已经导致一些意想不到的影响,例如可能在其他基因中发生的脱靶突变,或镶嵌现象,其中被改变的基因出现在一些细胞中,但不出现在其他细胞中。科学家们不知道这种影响的后果。
        Dr. He said he worked to minimize off-target effects and ultimately did not detect any after birth. He said he would continue to do blood tests and analyze for mosaicism or off-target mutations.        贺建奎说,他努力减少脱靶效应,最终在出生后没有发现脱靶。他说他将继续验血并分析镶嵌现象或脱靶变异。
        Another concern is that while editing of genes in most human cells to, for example, fix a disease-causing mutation affects only the person whose genes are edited, embryo editing — also called germline engineering — makes changes that are passed on to subsequent generations.        另一个问题是,为了修复引起疾病的突变等原因而编辑大多数人类细胞中的基因时,只影响被编辑基因的人,但胚胎编辑——也称为种系工程——会令后代产生变化。
        Then there is the concern that editing could be used to create babies with superior skills or desired physical features, changes that are not in the same league of importance as curing devastating genetic diseases and could have unpredictable social effects if such techniques became common.        最后,人们担心基因编辑可以用来创造具有卓越技能或所需身体特征的婴儿,这些变化与治疗致命性遗传疾病的重要性并不处于同样级别,如果这种技术变得普遍,可能会产生不可预测的社会影响。
        Several countries, including the United States, have made it illegal to deliberately alter human embryos. It is not against the law in China, but is opposed by many researchers and institutions there.        包括美国在内的一些国家将故意改变人类胚胎定为非法。这不违反中国的法律,但遭到中国许多研究人员和机构的反对。
        Xu Nanping, China’s vice-minister of science and technology, said Tuesday that the Chinese government had issued regulations in 2003 that permitted gene-editing experiments on embryos for research purposes, but only if they remain viable no more than 14 days, according to the state broadcaster China Central Television. If the Chinese authorities confirm that the babies were born, that would be in violation of current regulations, Mr. Xu said.        根据中国国有电视台中央电视台报道,中国科技部副部长徐南平周二表示,中国政府已于2003年颁布法规,允许对胚胎进行基因编辑实验以用于研究目的,但只有在它们存活不超过14天的情况下才能实现。他说如果中国当局确认有婴儿出生,那将是违反现行规定的。
        As recently as last year, Dr. He wrote in a blog post that Crispr was a new technology that required “more in-depth research and understanding.” Performing gene-editing on humans without addressing the safety risks “is extremely irresponsible, both from the point of view of science and social ethics,” he wrote.        就在去年,贺建奎在一篇博客文章中写道,Crispr是一项新技术,需要“更多深入的研究和了解”。不解决安全风险就对人类进行基因编辑,“不论是从科学还是社会伦理的角度考虑,是极其不负责任的,”他写道。
        Dr. He was scheduled to speak at a second session on Thursday at the conference in Hong Kong, but after his presentation on Wednesday, the Thursday appearance was canceled. His topic at that session had been entitled: “The Roadmap towards Developing Standards for Safety and Efficacy for Human Germline Gene Editing and Moral Principles.”        贺建奎定于周四在香港大会的第二场会议上发言,但在周三的发言后,周四的发言被取消了。他在那场会议上的演讲主题为:“制定人类种系基因编辑和道德原则的安全性和有效性标准的路线图”。

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