又中又英——Chimeras

  Science knows no limits. Who would have thought people can land on the moon. Yet the US first put two astronauts on the moon in 1969. No one would have thought organ transplants could be possible. Yet in 1954 an American doctor performed the first human-to-human kidney transplant. In 1967 a South African doctor performed the first human-to-human heart transplant. Vaccines normally take years to develop but several countries developed vaccines against the coronavirus in one year. But some medical advances can be considered unethical. The word "unethical" means not morally correct. Using your position as a boss to demand sex from your workers is unethical.Last week, it was reported American and Chinese researchers cooperated to produce the first part-human, part-monkey embryos to see if chimeras can in future supply organs for human transplant. Some scientists support the experiment but others said it was unethical. An embryo used this way means an unborn or unhatched baby in the early stages of development inside the mother. In Greek mythology (ancient stories), a chimera is a creature with a lion's head, goat's body, and a snake's tail. There is, of course, no such creature. But a chimera can also mean something that contains cells or tissues from two or more different species. That's why scientists say an embryo that is part-human part-monkey is a chimera.

  Some scientists warned the experiment could open Pandora's box which means something that causes many complicated problems because of unwise interference in something. The US-China chimera experiment was not totally successful but the scientists said they learned a lot. Is it unethical to experiment with things critics say are unethical? It is for you to decide. Some may feel mixing the cells and tissues of different species to produce embryos could create a Frankenstein, the name of an 1818 science fiction novel about a scientist who created a person using different parts of other humans. It became a monster. But others may feel chimera experiments can help those who need organ transplants.

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  科學永無止境。誰又會想到,人可以登陸月球?但在一九六九年,美國就率先派了兩個太空人上月球。沒有人料想過,器官移植是可能的,但在一九五四年,一位美國醫生進行了首次人類腎臟移植;一九六七年,一位南非的醫生進行了首宗人類心臟移植手術。一般來說,疫苗需要經過多年的研發才能面世,但好幾個國家都在一年之內研發出對抗新冠肺炎的疫苗。可是,某些醫療發展卻被認為是unethical——unethical是指不道德的、不合倫理的。利用你作為老闆的職權,去要求你的員工提供性服務,這就是不道德的(unethical)。上星期有報道指,美國與中國的研究員合作製造首個半人半猴的胚胎(embryos),看看「喀邁拉」嵌合體(chimeras)將來可否提供器官作人體移植之用。一些科學家支持這個實驗,但其他科學家則說這是有違倫理的(unethical)。An embryo在這裏是指在母體內仍屬初期發育階段,未出生或未孵化的胚胎。在希臘神話(mythology)中,a chimera是有着獅頭、羊身和蛇尾的怪物「喀邁拉」,當然現實中並沒有這樣的怪物。但a chimera也可以指一個嵌合體,有着兩個或以上物種的細胞或組織。因此,科學家會將那個半人半猴的胚胎(embryo)稱為「喀邁拉」。

  一些科學家警告,這個實驗會打開潘朵拉盒子(Pandora's box),意即由於愚蠢輕率的干預,惹來了許多複雜的問題與災禍。這個美中的「喀邁拉」(chimera)實驗不完全成功,但科學家說他們從中學習了許多。在一些批評者看為有違倫理(unethical)的事上進行實驗,是否不道德(unethical)?這就由你去定奪了。一些人覺得,嵌合與混雜不同物種的細胞和組織去製成胚胎(embryos),會創造出一個Frankenstein來,那是一八一八年科幻小說《科學怪人》的名稱,說的是一名科學家用不同人的身體部位,去創造一個人,那卻變成一個怪物。然而,亦有另一些人覺得,「喀邁拉」(chimera)實驗可以幫助那些需要器官移植的人。

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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