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中国首只克隆猫诞生背后的故事
His Cat’s Death Left Him Heartbroken. So He Cloned It.

来源:纽约时报    2019-09-06 04:16



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        BEIJING — Garlic was dead, and there was nothing Huang Yu could do. So on a cold winter day, he buried his cat’s body in a park close to his home.        北京——大蒜死了,黄雨对此无力回天。所以在一个寒冷的冬天,他把这只猫的尸体埋在了家附近的一座公园里。
        Hours later, still heartbroken, the 22-year-old businessman recalled an article he had read on dog cloning in China. What if someday he could bring Garlic back to life?        几小时后,这位依旧悲痛欲绝的22岁商人想起自己读过一篇关于中国克隆狗的文章。如果有一天他能让大蒜起死回生呢?
        “In my heart, Garlic is irreplaceable,” said Mr. Huang, who dug up his British shorthair and put the cat in his refrigerator in preparation for cloning him. “Garlic didn’t leave anything for future generations, so I could only choose to clone.”        “大蒜在我心中的话,至少不是其他猫能代替得了的,”黄雨说。他把他的英国短毛猫挖出来,放进冰箱,准备克隆。“因为大蒜它并没有说后代什么留下来,所以说我只能去选择克隆。”
        That thought led him to Sinogene, a commercial pet-cloning company based in Beijing. Roughly $35,000 and seven months later, Sinogene produced what China’s official news media declared to be the country’s first cloned cat — and another sign of the country’s emergence as a power in cloning and genetics.        就这样,他找到了北京的商业宠物克隆公司希诺谷。花费大约3.5万美元,经过了7个月时间,希诺谷制造了中国官方新闻媒体宣称的第一只克隆猫,这是中国成为克隆和遗传学大国的又一迹象。
        It also suggests that China could turn pet cloning into a viable business. Duplicating dogs and cats has not really taken off in the United States and elsewhere, experts say. Pet-obsessed China might be different. The size of China’s domestic pet market is expected to reach $28.2 billion this year, up nearly one-fifth from 2018, according to Gouminwang, a pet consultancy in Beijing. The country already has 55 million pet dogs and 44 million pet cats, and demand for cats is accelerating.        这也表明,中国可以把宠物克隆变成一项可行的生意。专家说,复制猫狗在美国和其他地方并没有真正流行起来。迷恋宠物的中国可能会有所不同。北京一家宠物咨询公司狗民网预计,今年中国国内宠物市场规模将达到282亿美元,比2018年增长近五分之一。中国已经有5500万只宠物狗和4400万只宠物猫,而且对猫的需求正在加速增长。
        Pet cloning is not confined to China — Barbra Streisand famously declared last year that two of her dogs are clones — and people have been cloning cats for years. But Garlic is the first cat cloned by China, solidifying its position among major cloning nations, which include the United States, Britain and South Korea.        宠物克隆并不仅限于中国——芭芭拉·史翠珊(Barbra Streisand)去年曾发表过声明引发关注,称她的两只狗都是克隆的——而且多年来,人们一直在克隆猫。但是大蒜是中国第一只克隆猫,这巩固了它在包括美国、英国和韩国在内的克隆大国中的地位。
        Mi Jidong, Sinogene’s chief executive, said the company decided to start cloning pets in 2015 after conducting a survey of roughly 1,000 people that showed there was demand. The company has cloned more than 40 dogs, including schnauzers, Pomeranians and Malteses, at a cost of about $53,000 each, some as pets and others for medical research.        希诺谷总经理米继东表示,该公司在对大约1000人进行了一项调查后,于2015年决定开始克隆宠物。该公司已经克隆了40多只狗,包括雪纳瑞、博美和马尔济斯,每只狗的克隆费用约为5.3万美元,有些是宠物狗,有些是用于医学研究。
        It charges more for dogs than cats because the window for harvesting a dog’s eggs is very small, according to Mr. Mi. He said more than 100 people had stored the DNA samples of their pets in anticipation of creating clones.        米继东说,狗比猫的收费要高,因为收集狗卵子的窗口期很小。他说,有100多人储存了宠物的DNA样本,希望能进行克隆。
        Sinogene’s yearlong effort to clone a cat was motivated by market research that showed that cats are becoming increasingly popular in China, said Mr. Mi, who has never owned a pet. (“Cats and dogs require too much care,” he said.)        米继东说,希诺谷之所以花一年时间来克隆猫,是由市场调研发现猫在中国越来越受欢迎的结论所推动。米继东本人从未养过宠物。(“猫狗需要很多照顾的,”他说。)
        China’s genetics know-how is growing rapidly. Ever since Chinese scientists cloned a female goat in 2000, they have succeeded in producing the world’s first primate clones, editing the embryos of monkeys to insert genes associated with autism and mental illness, and creating superstrong dogs by tinkering with their genes. Last year, the country stunned the world after a Chinese scientist announced that he had created the world’s first genetically edited babies.        中国的遗传学技术正在取得迅猛发展。自2000年中国科学家克隆了一只母山羊以来,他们已经成功制造出了世界上第一批灵长类动物克隆体;编辑了猴子的胚胎,植入了与自闭症和精神疾病有关的基因;并通过修改基因创造出超级强壮的狗。去年,一位中国科学家宣布他创造了世界上第一个基因编辑婴儿,震惊了全世界。
        Pet cloning is largely unregulated and controversial where it is done, but in China the barriers are especially low. Many Chinese people do not think that using animals for medical research or cosmetics testing is cruel, or that pet cloning is potentially problematic. There are also no laws against animal cruelty.        宠物克隆基本不受监管,而且存在很大争议,但在中国,障碍尤其低。许多中国人并不认为用动物进行医学研究或化妆品测试是残忍的,也不认为克隆宠物存在潜在的问题。而且中国没有法律禁止虐待动物。
        “It satisfies the owner’s spiritual needs and increases happiness,” said Wang Chuduan, a professor at China Agricultural University in Beijing. “There is a market demand. So what’s the problem?”        “它满足了主人的精神上的需求,增加了他的幸福感,”北京中国农业大学教授王楚端说,“这也是一种市场需求,有何不可呢?”
        Sinogene has bigger ambitions than cats and dogs. It is cloning a horse, and Mr. Mi said his next big goal was to clone endangered animals, including pandas and the South China tiger.        希诺谷的野心不止于猫狗。它正在克隆一匹马。米继东说,他的下一个大目标是克隆濒危动物,包括大熊猫和华南虎。
        “I believe it will be quite difficult and we will need some more time,” Mr. Mi said in a conference room surrounded by framed pictures of his company’s cloning successes, like China’s first cloned police dog.        “我相信这个难度会比较大,需要一些时间,”米继东在一间会议室里说。会议室里摆满了公司克隆成功的照片,比如中国第一只克隆警犬。
        Critics contend that pet cloning is inefficient and inhumane. It is not clear what will happen to the resulting animals, or the impact when they mix with the broader gene pool. The money could be better spent on caring for existing animals, the critics say.        批评者认为,宠物克隆是低效和不人道的。目前还不清楚这些动物身上会发生什么,也不清楚当它们与更广泛的基因库混合时,会产生什么影响。批评者说,这笔钱可以更好地用于照顾现有的动物。
        Jessica Pierce, a bioethicist at the University of Colorado Denver, cites the use of cats as surrogate mothers to produce clones, which she said was “similar to the harm that you would impose on a woman whose only purpose in life is to be a breeding machine for man.”        科罗拉多大学丹佛分校(University of Colorado Denver)的生物伦理学家杰西卡·皮尔斯(Jessica Pierce)在谈到利用母猫作为代孕母亲来繁殖后代的问题时说,这种做法“就像对一个人生唯一目的就是成为男性繁殖机器的女性所施加的伤害”。
        “The cat has no intrinsic value,” Dr. Pierce said. “It’s used as an object, as a means to somebody’s end.”        “这只猫没有内在价值,”皮尔斯博士说。“它被当作一件物品,一种达到某人目的的手段。”
        To clone Garlic, scientists implanted skin cells from Mr. Huang’s original cat into eggs harvested from other cats. After an electric or chemical shock, 40 cloned embryos were implanted into four surrogate mother cats. That produced three pregnancies, two of which were miscarriages, said Chen Benchi, head of Sinogene’s medical experiments team.        为了克隆大蒜,科学家将黄雨原来那只猫的皮肤细胞植入从其他猫身上采集的卵子中。在经过电击或化学休克后,40个克隆的胚胎植入四只代孕的母猫体内。希诺谷的医学实验团队负责人陈奔驰说,三只怀孕了,但其中两只流产。
        “The harm is very small,” said Mr. Mi, Sinogene’s chief executive.        “危害很小,”希诺谷总经理米继东说。
        Scientists outside China have not yet inspected Garlic, who was born on July 21. But the company’s chief scientist, Lai Liangxue, was an assistant professor at the University of Missouri, and his cloning research has been published in the respected journals Nature and Science.        目前还没有中国以外的科学家检查过7月21日出生的大蒜。但该公司的首席科学家赖良学是密苏里大学的助理教授,他的克隆研究已经发表在《自然》(Nature)和《科学》(Science)这些有分量的杂志上。
        A visit to Sinogene’s laboratory on the outskirts of Beijing offered scenes out of something like a feline version of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Garlic’s clone, a gray-and-white kitten, snoozed with his surrogate mother, a different breed from Garlic. He later played with a fur ball while three pregnant surrogate cats watched from cages. The new Garlic is scheduled to stay at Sinogene’s laboratory for another month for observation before he is sent to Mr. Huang.        参观位于北京郊区的希诺谷实验室时,可以看到类似猫版《使女的故事》(The Handmaid’s Tale)的场景。大蒜的克隆体是一只灰白色的小猫,它和代孕妈妈正在打盹,那是一个不同于大蒜的品种。后来,它又玩起了毛球,三只怀孕的代孕猫在笼子里看着。新大蒜在希诺谷的实验室里还要再待上一个月以供观察,然后再交给黄雨。
        Elsewhere, two lab workers in blue coats were focused on testing the paternity of horses. Tanks of liquid nitrogen held the cells of pets.        在实验室另一处地方,两名穿着蓝色外套的实验室工作人员正在专注地测试马的亲子关系。液氮罐里装着宠物细胞。
        Mr. Huang was initially put off by the roughly $35,000 price. But in a telephone interview from the eastern city of Wenzhou, he said getting Garlic back was worth more than that, even though his parents disapproved. The original Garlic died in January from a urinary tract infection at age 2.        黄雨最初面对3.5万美元左右的价格打起了退堂鼓。但在东部城市温州接受电话采访时,他说,让大蒜回来的价值可不止这个数,尽管他的父母并不这么认为。原来的大蒜在1月份死于尿路感染,当时才2岁。
        On the day Garlic died and was buried, Mr. Huang exhumed Garlic’s corpse, wrapped it carefully and placed it in his refrigerator. He then waited for a Sinogene employee to arrive from Beijing to extract skin cells from Garlic and bank them. Mr. Huang decided about a month after Garlic’s death to go through with the cloning.        就在大蒜死亡并被埋葬的那天,黄雨又挖出大蒜的尸体,小心地把它包好放在冰箱里。然后,他等待一名希诺谷的工作人员从北京过来,从大蒜身上提取皮肤细胞保存起来。大蒜死后一个月,黄雨做出了克隆的决定。
        In his first meeting with the new Garlic in August, Mr. Huang found that cloning had not produced an exact copy of his former pet. The clone is missing a patch of black fur that graced Garlic’s chin. Sinogene said that clones might show slight differences in fur or eye color and that an outside firm had proved the DNA matched.        今年8月,黄雨第一次见到这只新大蒜时,他发现克隆出来的大蒜与他以前养的宠物并不完全一样。原来的大蒜下巴上有一块黑色的毛,特别漂亮,现在没有了。希诺谷说,克隆的动物在皮毛和眼睛的颜色上可能会略有不同,一家外部的公司已经证明了两者的DNA是匹配的。
        “If I tell you I wasn’t disappointed, then I would be lying to you,” Mr. Huang said. “But I’m also willing to accept that there are certain situations in which there are limitations to the technology.”        “如说没有失望那就是骗人的了,失望肯定是有的,”黄雨说。“但就是说,也愿意去接受,就是说它的这么一个情况,因为可能一些技术上的限制已经无法突破,我也能去理解。”
        At a news conference last month to unveil the cloned Garlic, Mr. Mi was quoted as saying that he was considering using artificial intelligence to transplant the memories of the original pet to the cloned one.        在上个月推出克隆大蒜的新闻发布会上,媒体援引米继东的话说,他正在考虑使用人工智能将原宠物的记忆移植到克隆体上。
        When asked about that statement, Mr. Mi said it was not something that his company would embark on but added that it was a possibility that the technology could provide.        当被问及这个说法时,米继东表示,这不是他的公司将要做的事情,但又补充,这是该技术可以提供的可能性。
        “It’s a way to imagine the future,” he said.        “只是未来的一个想像,”他说。
                
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