理解科学怪人的传统

发自帕洛阿尔托——“活了,它在动,活了......它真的活过来了!”,在“大作”完成之际,维克托·弗兰肯斯坦医生兴奋地高叫着。正如电影《科学怪人》(Frankenstein)的情节那样,医学研究者都渴望去创造生命,但在大多数情况下,他们所能做的只不过是用突变或其他基因工程手段来将各种活体组织拼凑起来罢了。

今年5月,在J·克雷格·文特尔研究所,由创办人文特尔亲自率领的研究团队利用化学模块合成了一种全新的细菌基因,并将其植入了另一种细菌的细胞内。新植入的遗传信息“重新激活”了受体细胞,新细胞生理机能如常,可以自我复制,并呈现出“供体”的相关特征。换句话说,一种新的人工合成生命正式诞生了。

科学界对此可谓众说纷纭,有人觉得“有点新奇”,有人惊呼“末日先兆”。或许前者更为明智:文特尔的成果只不过将目前的技术有所推进,还算不上是革命性的。

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