China clones macaques, Vatican sounds caution<br /> 中國催生複製猴 梵蒂岡發出警示 - Taipei Times
Sun, Feb 04, 2018 - Page 9 News List

China clones macaques, Vatican sounds caution
中國催生複製猴 梵蒂岡發出警示

Cloned monkeys Zhong Zhong and Hua Hua are seen at the non-human primate facility at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, China, on Jan. 20, 2018.
複製猴「中中」與「華華」待在上海的中國科學院神經科學研究所裡面的非人靈長類平台的恆溫箱中。照片攝於二○一八年一月二十日。

Photo: Reuters
照片:路透

On Jan. 20, the Web site of the international academic journal Cell announced a significant breakthrough by Chinese scientists, who successfully cloned monkeys using the somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) technique. This represents the first time monkeys have ever been cloned using this technique.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Neuroscience research team, led by Sun Qiang, was able to overcome difficulties surrounding the cloning of the animals with somatic cells, a method similar to the one that created the famous Dolly the Sheep.

According to Sun, since the birth of Dolly, scientists have successfully applied the SCNT technique to clone other mammals such as horses, cattle, rabbits, cats, dogs and camels, among others, but the cloning of primates, which are genetically similar to human beings, has always presented problems. The significance of the successful cloning of the monkeys lies in being able to produce “a large number of monkeys with the same genetic background within one year to serve as models in which human diseases can be simulated.”

Sun says that the production of monkeys as models for simulating human neurological diseases will bring new possibilities for research into the mechanisms, interventions and treatments of brain diseases, especially with promoting R&D for new drugs targeting neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and autism, as well as immunodeficiencies, tumors and metabolic disorders.

The mice normally used as models in medical drug R&D are genetically very different from humans, and candidate drugs derived from testing on mice at huge costs in terms of effort and research funding are often found to be ineffective in human patients, or lead to unacceptable side effects.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

breakthrough

n. 突破

(tu2 po4)

clone

v. 複製

(fu4 zhi4)

cell

n. 細胞

(xi4 bao1)

mammal

n. 哺乳動物

(bu2 ru3 dong4 wu4)

genetic

adj. 遺傳的

(yi2 chuan2 de5)


The Vatican responded cautiously to this scientific and medical breakthrough. Msgr Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life, was critical of the development, saying “Not everything that is possible is right.”

The research was an important scientific development, the Vatican’s top bioethics official said, but “we must always consider the effects of our interventions on the ecosystem and weigh the risk of making mistakes in the management of new know-how which may in the future lead us to interventions on the human body.” According to Paglia, animal rights also deserve to be protected, and such experiments should only be employed “in the absence of alternative methods in acquiring knowledge and therapeutic tools.”

(CNA, Translated by Chang Ho-ming)

國際學術期刊「細胞」官網在一月二十日發布了中國科學家的一項重大突破,他們成功培育出體細胞核移植的複製猴。這是全球首例用體細胞核移植的方式複製猴子。

中國科學院神經科學研究所研究員孫強率領的團隊攻克了體細胞複製的難題,這種複製方法與知名複製羊桃莉的方法類似。

孫強說,在桃莉誕生以後,馬、牛、兔、貓、狗、駱駝等哺乳類動物的體細胞複製相繼成功,但與人類相近的靈長類動物的體細胞複製一直未被攻克。體細胞複製猴的重要性在於,「能夠在一年內產生大批遺傳背景相同、可以模擬人類疾病的模型猴」。

孫強表示,製作這些腦疾病模型猴,將為腦疾病機理研究、干預、診治帶來可能性,特別是促進針對阿茲海默症、自閉症等腦疾病,以及免疫缺陷、腫瘤、代謝性疾病的新藥研發進程。

藥物研發通常使用的小鼠模型和人類相差甚遠,在小鼠模型上花費巨大研究資源與心力篩選出的候選藥物,用在病人身上大都無效或有不可接受的副作用。

對於這項科學與醫學領域的重大突破,梵蒂岡慎重發出警示。梵蒂岡內的教廷宗座生命科學院主席帕以亞批評,「不是每件可能達成的事都是正確的。」

帕以亞指出,這項研究雖是種科學上的突破,但是「我們應該仔細思索人類介入生態系時對其所造成的影響,同時深刻衡量這類新技術在管理過程中因犯錯而可能引發的風險,更遑論新技術未來是否會進一步地延伸到人體實驗。」他強調,動物的權利也該受保障,「除非沒有其他替代研究途徑,人類不該任意進行動物實驗。」

(中央社)

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