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Chinese Scientist Claims to Use Crispr to Make First Genetically Edited Babies

来源:纽约时报    2018-11-28 09:40

        Ever since scientists created the powerful gene editing technique Crispr, they have braced apprehensively for the day when it would be used to create a genetically altered human being. Many nations banned such work, fearing it could be misused to alter everything from eye color to I.Q.        自从创造了强大的基因编辑技术Crispr,科学家们一直忧心忡忡地准备着,不知哪一天它会被用于制造一个经过基因改动的人类。许多国家禁止这样的工作,担心这项技术可能被滥用于改变一切,从眼睛的颜色到智商。
        Now, the moment they feared may have come. On Monday, a scientist in China announced that he had created the world’s first genetically edited babies, twin girls who were born this month.        现在,他们担心的那一刻可能已经到来。周一,一名中国科学家宣布,他创造了世界上首例基因编辑婴儿,一对在这个月出生的双胞胎女孩。
        The researcher, He Jiankui, said that he had altered a gene in the embryos, before having them implanted in the mother’s womb, with the goal of making the babies resistant to infection with H.I.V. He has not published the research in any journal and did not share any evidence or data that definitively proved he had done it.        研究者贺建奎说,在将胚胎植入母体子宫之前,他已经改变了其中的一个基因,使得这对婴儿能抵抗艾滋病病毒的感染。他尚未在任何期刊上发表过这项研究,也没有分享任何证据或数据来证明他确实做过这件事。
        But his previous work is known to many experts in the field, who said — many with alarm — that it was entirely possible he had.        但他此前的工作为该领域的许多专家所知,这些专家说——其中很多人警告称——他完全有可能做到这一点。
        “It’s scary,” said Dr. Alexander Marson, a gene editing expert at the University of California in San Francisco.        “这很可怕,”加州大学旧金山分校(University of California in San Francisco)的基因编辑专家亚历山大·马尔森(Alexander Marson)博士说。
        While the United States and many other countries have made it illegal to deliberately alter the genes of human embryos, it is not against the law to do so in China, but the practice is opposed by many researchers there. A group of 122 Chinese scientists issued a statement calling Dr. He’s actions “crazy” and his claims “a huge blow to the global reputation and development of Chinese science.”        虽然美国和许多其他国家已经规定,蓄意改变人类胚胎的基因是非法的,但在中国,这样做并不违法,只是这种行为遭到许多研究人员的反对。122名中国科学家发表联署声明,称贺建奎的行为“疯狂”,他的言论“对于中国科学在全球的声誉和发展都是巨大的打击”。
        If human embryos can be routinely edited, many scientists, ethicists and policymakers fear a slippery slope to a future in which babies are genetically engineered for traits — like athletic or intellectual prowess — that have nothing to do with preventing devastating medical conditions.        如果人类胚胎可以被常规性地编辑,许多科学家、伦理学家和政策制定者担心,这是一种通向未来的滑坡效应。届时婴儿将为一些特质而被改造基因——如运动能力或智力——与预防灾难性的健康状况毫无关系。
        While those possibilities might seem far in the future, a different concern is urgent and immediate: safety. The methods used for gene editing can inadvertently alter other genes in unpredictable ways. Dr. He said that did not happen in this case, but it is a worry that looms over the field.        虽然这些可能性看起来是在很遥远的未来,但另一个迫在眉睫的问题是:安全。用于基因编辑的方法可能在无意中以不可预测的方式改变其他基因。贺建奎说,在本案例中,此种情况并未发生,但这是一个隐现在这个领域的担忧。
        Dr. He made his announcement on the eve of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing in Hong Kong, saying that he had recruited several couples in which the man had H.I.V. and then used in vitro fertilization to create human embryos that were resistant to the virus that causes AIDS. He said he did it by directing Crispr-Cas9 to deliberately disable a gene, known as CCR₅, that is used to make a protein H.I.V. needs to enter cells.        贺建奎在第二届人类基因组编辑国际峰会于香港召开的前一天发表声明,称他招募了几对男方感染艾滋病病毒的夫妇,利用体外受精的方式,创造了能抵抗引起艾滋病的病毒的人类胚胎。他表示,他通过指引Crispr-Cas9,有意使一种名为CCR₅的基因失效而实现这一点,该基因被用来制造艾滋病病毒进入细胞所需的蛋白质。
        Dr. He said the experiment worked for a couple whose twin girls were born in November. He said there were no adverse effects on other genes.        贺建奎说,这项实验在一对夫妇身上发生了作用,他们于11月诞下双胞胎女童。他表示,对其他基因没有不良影响。
        In a video that he posted, Dr. He said the father of the twins has a reason to live now that he has children, and that people with H.I.V. face severe discrimination in China.        在他发布的一个视频中,贺建奎表示,这对双胞胎的父亲现在有了孩子,就有了活下去的理由。他还指出,艾滋病病毒携带者在中国面临严重歧视。
        Dr. He’s announcement was reported earlier by the MIT Technology Review and The Associated Press.        早些时候,《麻省理工技术评论》(MIT Technology Review)和美联社报道了他的声明。
        In an interview with the A.P. he indicated that he hoped to set an example to use genetic editing for valid reasons. “I feel a strong responsibility that it’s not just to make a first, but also make it an example,” he told the A.P. He added: “Society will decide what to do next.”        在接受美联社采访时,他表示希望成为以正当理由进行基因编辑的榜样。“我有强烈的责任感,不仅要做第一个,而且要让它成为样本,”他告诉美联社,他还说:“社会会决定下一步该做什么。”
        It is highly unusual for a scientist to announce a groundbreaking development without at least providing data that academic peers can review. Dr. He said he had gotten permission to do the work from the ethics board of the hospital Shenzhen Harmonicare, but the hospital, in interviews with Chinese media, denied being involved. The university that he is attached to, the Southern University of Science and Technology, said it suspended Dr. He in February because the school of biology believed that his project “is a serious violation of academic ethics and academic norms,” according to the state-run Beijing News.        一个科学家宣布一项开创性的进展,但却没有提供至少可供学术同行审查的数据,这是非常不寻常的。贺建奎说,他已从深圳和美医院的伦理委员会获得做这项工作的许可,但该医院在接受中国媒体采访时否认参与其中。国有新闻机构《新京报》报道说,他所隶属的大学南方科技大学表示,由于生物学院认为他的项目“严重违反学术道德和学术规范”,因此在2月对贺建奎实行停薪留职。
        Many scientists in the United States were appalled.        美国的许多科学家都感到震惊。
        “I think that’s completely insane,” said Shoukhrat Mitalipov, director of the Center for Embryonic Cell and Gene Therapy at Oregon Health and Science University. Dr. Mitalipov broke new ground last year by using gene editing to successfully remove a dangerous mutation from human embryos in a laboratory dish.        “我认为这完全是疯了,”俄勒冈健康与科学大学胚胎细胞和基因治疗中心主任舒克拉特·米塔利波夫(Shoukhrat Mitalipov)说。米塔利波夫去年通过使用基因编辑,成功地在实验室培养皿中去除了人类胚胎的危险突变,取得了突破性进展。
        Dr. Mitalipov said that unlike his own work, which focuses on editing out mutations that cause serious diseases that cannot be prevented any other way, Dr. He did not do anything medically necessary. There are other ways to prevent H.I.V. infection in newborns.        他说他的工作主要是编辑导致严重疾病的突变,而且这种突变无法以任何其他方式被阻止,与他的工作不同,贺建奎做的工作并没有任何医学上的必要。还有其他方法可以防止新生儿的HIV感染。
        Just three months ago, at a conference in late August on genome engineering at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, Dr. He presented work on editing the CCR₅ gene in the embryos of nine couples.        就在三个月前,在纽约冷泉港实验室召开的基因组工程研讨会上,贺建奎介绍了在9对夫妇的胚胎中编辑CCR5基因的工作。
        At the conference, whose organizers included Jennifer Doudna, one of the inventors of Crispr technology, Dr. He gave a careful talk about something that fellow attendees considered squarely within the realm of ethically approved research, said one of those who attended, Dr. Fyodor Urnov, deputy director of the Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences and a visiting researcher at the Innovative Genomics Institute at the University of California, Berkeley.        该会议的组织者包括Crispr技术的发明者之一詹妮弗·道德纳(Jennifer Doudna)。与会者之一、奥尔第乌斯生物医学科学研究所(Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences)副所长、加州大学伯克利分校创新基因组学研究所(Innovative Genomics Institute at the University of California, Berkeley)访问研究员费奥尔多·乌尔诺夫博士(Fyodor Urnov)说,贺建奎做了一次经过深思熟虑的发言,与会者认为他所说的东西处于道德认可的研究领域之内。
        “If you listened to his talk, it is this very cautious, thoughtful, step-by-step advance,” Dr. Urnov said. “He presented embryo editing of CCR₅. He was presenting the talk to peers, professional gene editors who know that the field is advancing rapidly, so frankly the atmosphere in the room was, I don’t want to say ho-hum, but it was ‘Yeah, sure, you’ve built on ten years of advances.’”        “如果你听了他的讲话,就知道那是这种非常谨慎、周到、一步一步的进展,”乌尔诺夫说。“他介绍了CCR5的胚胎编辑。他向同行、专业的基因编辑研究人员介绍这个话题,他们知道这个领域正在迅速发展,所以坦率地说,房间里的气氛是——我不想说大家都在打哈欠——但大家都在说‘是的,当然,这些都是建立在十年的发展基础上的。’”
        But he did not mention that some of those embryos had been implanted in a woman and could result in genetically engineered babies.        但是贺建奎并没有提到,有些胚胎被植入了一个女人,并可能导致经基因编辑的婴儿诞生。
        “What we now know is that as he was talking, there was a woman in China carrying twins,” Dr. Urnov said. “He had the opportunity to say ‘Oh and by the way, I’m just going to come out and say it, people, there’s a woman carrying twins.’”        “我们现在知道,当他做那次讲话时,中国有一位女性已经怀了双胞胎,”乌尔诺夫说。“当时他本有机会说,‘哦,还有,我打算直接说出来了,就是伙计们,有个女人怀了双胞胎。’”
        “I would never play poker against Dr. He,” Dr. Urnov quipped.        “我永远不会和贺博士一起玩扑克,”乌尔诺夫打趣说。
        Richard Hynes, a cancer researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who co-led an advisory group on human gene editing for the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, said that group and a similar organization in Britain had determined that if human genes were to be edited, the procedure should only be done to address “serious unmet needs in medical treatment, it had to be well monitored, it had to be well followed up, full consent has to be in place.”        麻省理工学院(Massachusetts Institute of Technology)癌症问题研究员理查德·海因斯(Richard Hynes)是美国国家科学院(National Academy of Sciences)和国家医学院(National Academy of Medicine)人类基因编辑顾问小组的领导之一,他说,该小组和英国一个类似的小组已经确定,如果要对人类基因进行编辑,这个措施只应用来解决“医疗手段严重不能满足的需求,必须对其进行充分监测,必须对其进行全面跟进,必须获得对象的完全同意”。
        It is not clear why altering genes to make people resistant to H.I.V. is “a serious unmet need.” Men with H.I.V. do not infect embryos. Their semen contains the virus that causes AIDS, which can infect women, but the virus can be washed off their sperm before insemination. Or a doctor can inject a single sperm into an egg. In either case, the woman will not be infected and neither will the babies.        目前尚不清楚为什么改变基因以使人们对HIV产生抗性是“严重不能满足的需求。”带有HIV的男性不会感染胚胎。他们的精液含有导致艾滋病的病毒,可以感染女性,但病毒可以在授精前从精子中被清洗掉。或者医生可以将一个精子注射到卵子中。在任何一种情况下,女性都不会被感染,婴儿也不会被感染。
        Dr. He got his Ph.D., from Rice University, in physics and his postdoctoral training, at Stanford, was with Stephen Quake, a professor of bioengineering and applied physics who works on sequencing DNA, not editing it.        贺建奎在莱斯大学(Rice University)获得物理学博士学位,在斯坦福大学跟随生物工程和应用物理学教授斯蒂芬·雷克(Stephen Quake)接受博士后培训,雷克从事的是DNA测序而非编辑研究。
        Experts said that using Crispr would actually be quite easy for someone like Dr. He.        专家表示,对于像贺建奎这样的人来说,使用Crispr技术实际上很容易。
        After coming to Shenzhen in 2012, Dr. He, at age 28, established a DNA sequencing company, Direct Genomics, and listed Dr. Quake on its advisory board. But, in a telephone interview on Monday, Dr. Quake said he was never associated with the company.        2012年,28岁的贺建奎来到深圳,成立了一家名为瀚海基因的DNA测序公司,并在其咨询委员会上列出了雷克的名字。但是,在周一的电话采访中,雷克说他从未与该公司联系过。

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