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Study: Americans Approve of Gene Editing Only for Health Purposes

研究表明美国人仅赞同把基因编辑用于健康目的

A public opinion study says that most Americans would accept the use of gene-editing technology to create babies who are protected from some diseases.

一项民意调查表明,大多数美国人都能接受使用基因编辑技术“造出”免受某种疾病侵害的婴儿。

But the same study finds that Americans do not support changing the genetic structure, or DNA, of children so that they are faster, taller or more intelligent.

但是同一项调查发现,美国人不支持改变儿童的遗传基因让他们变得更快、更高或者更加聪明。

The research was carried out by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

美联社和全国民意调查中心公共事务研究所进行了这项调查。

It comes after a Chinese scientist claimed in November to have created the world's first gene-edited human babies. The opinion study suggests that many people are concerned about what gene-editing means for the future.

这项调查发生在一位中国科学家于11月份声称“造出”了全球首个基因编辑人类婴儿之后。该民调表明,很多人都很担心基因编辑对未来的影响。

More than 1,000 people were questioned in the study. The researchers said Americans value the medical promise of technology that could change the genetic qualities human parents pass on to their children. But they worry whether it will be used in a moral way.

有1000多人接受了这项调查。研究人员表示,美国人非常看重这项科技的医疗前景,它可能会改变人类父母遗传给子女的遗传特质。但是他们担心这项科技是否会得到合乎道德的应用。

Jaron Keener works at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The 31-year-old told the Associated Press that he opposes "rich people being able to create designer babies."

贾隆·基纳(Jaron Keener)在宾夕法尼亚州匹兹堡市的卡内基自然历史博物馆工作。这位31岁的年轻人对美联社表示,他反对“有钱人能造出经过设计的婴儿。”

However, Keener said he would support gene editing in embryos to prevent diseases that have no cure. He said that his mother has lupus, a disease that may have both environmental and genetic causes.

然而基纳表示,他支持编辑胚胎基因以预防那些无法治愈的疾病。他说他的母亲患有狼疮,这种疾病可能同时具有环境和遗传因素。

"I've been around somebody with a chronic illness and I've seen the toll that has taken, not just on her life, but the life of my family," he said.

他说:“我和一位慢病患者生活在一起,亲眼看到了它不仅给母亲的生活,还给整个家庭的幸福生活造成了严重后果。”

Gene editing takes out a part of DNA to remove, replace or repair a gene.

基因编辑可以取出一段DNA片段,把某个基因删除、替换或是修复。

Changes to adult cells only affect the person being treated. But editing genes in eggs, sperm or embryos can change the resulting child in ways that can be passed to future generations.

成人的细胞变化只会影响患者本人,但是编辑精子、卵子或是胚胎的基因能够改变生出的孩子,这种改变可以传递给后代。

Because of its important effects, international science guidelines say gene-editing should not yet be tested in human pregnancies. Scientists say more laboratory research is needed to prove whether or not it is safe.

由于它的重大影响,国际科学指南称基因编辑不应该在人类孕育中进行测试。科学家们表示,需要进行更多的实验室研究来证实它是否安全。

The AP-NORC study suggests that 71 percent of Americans approve of using gene editing to prevent deadly diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington's disease.

美联社和全国民意调查中心进行的这项调查表明,71%的美国人赞成使用基因编辑技术来预防某些致命疾病,例如囊肿性纤维化或亨廷顿氏舞蹈症。

The study found that 65 percent of Americans would approve of using gene editing to prevent conditions such as blindness. There also was support for using the technology to reduce the risk of diseases that might develop later in life, such as cancer.

该研究发现,65%的美国人赞成使用基因编辑技术来预防失明等疾病,还有人支持使用这项技术来降低晚年可能患上的疾病的风险,例如癌症。

However, 66 percent of Americans oppose using gene editing to change qualities such as intelligence or athletic ability. They also oppose changing physical qualities such as eye color or height, the study found.

然而调查发现,66%的美国人反对使用基因编辑技术来改变智力或运动能力等身体素质,他们还反对改变眼睛眼神或体重等身体特质。

Dr. Robert Klitzman studies biological research rules. He noted that, if fertility clinics start to edit the genes of embryos, there will be hard choices to make about what conditions can be changed.

罗伯特·克利兹曼博士(Dr. Robert Klitzman)研究生物学研究规则。他指出,如果生育诊所开始编辑胚胎的基因,就会很难抉择哪些状况是可以改变的。

What if scientists could identify genes involved with depression or autism or high body weight? Would they be acceptable to edit? "It's one thing to look at the extremes of fatal diseases versus cosmetic things, but in the middle are going to be these very different issues," Klitzman said.

如果科学家可以确定与抑郁症、孤独症或肥胖相关的基因,编辑这些基因是不是可以接受呢?克利兹曼博士表示:“这涉及到如何看待致命性疾病和美容性问题这两个极端,但是中间会出现完全不同的问题。”

More Americans oppose than approve of government support for testing gene-editing technology on human embryos. About 25 percent of them have no opinion.

大部分美国人反对批准政府支持对人类胚胎基因编辑技术进行测试,25%的美国人不发表意见。

Jaron Keener, the Pittsburgh museum worker, said that he opposes the research because he fears it would not be used only to fight disease.

匹兹堡博物馆员工基纳表示,他反对这项研究,因为他担心它会不仅仅用于对抗疾病。

"I just don't have a lot of confidence people wouldn't use it for their own gain," he said.

他说:“我不太相信人们不会为了自己的利益滥用它。”

The study suggests a lack of trust in the technology. About one-third of Americans think gene editing will be used before it is fully tested. Many scientists believe this has already happened in China.

该调查表明人们对这项技术缺乏信任。大约1/3的美国人认为基因编辑会在完全测试前使用。很多科学家认为这已经发生在中国。

Nearly 90 percent of the people in the study thought that the technology will be used for the wrong reasons.

近90%的被调查者认为,这项技术会被用于错误原因。

I'm Pete Musto.

皮特·穆斯托报道。

 

A public opinion study says that most Americans would accept the use of gene-editing technology to create babies who are protected from some diseases.

But the same study finds that Americans do not support changing the genetic structure, or DNA, of children so that they are faster, taller or more intelligent.

The research was carried out by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

It comes after a Chinese scientist claimed in November to have created the world’s first gene-edited human babies. The opinion study suggests that many people are concerned about what gene-editing means for the future.

More than 1,000 people were questioned in the study. The researchers said Americans value the medical promise of technology that could change the genetic qualities human parents pass on to their children. But they worry whether it will be used in a moral way.

Jaron Keener works at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The 31-year-old told the Associated Press that he opposes “rich people being able to create designer babies.”

However, Keener said he would support gene editing in embryos to prevent diseases that have no cure. He said that his mother has lupus, a disease that may have both environmental and genetic causes.

“I’ve been around somebody with a chronic illness and I’ve seen the toll that has taken, not just on her life, but the life of my family,” he said.

Gene editing takes out a part of DNA to remove, replace or repair a gene.

Changes to adult cells only affect the person being treated. But editing genes in eggs, sperm or embryos can change the resulting child in ways that can be passed to future generations.

Because of its important effects, international science guidelines say gene-editing should not yet be tested in human pregnancies. Scientists say more laboratory research is needed to prove whether or not it is safe.

The AP-NORC study suggests that 71 percent of Americans approve of using gene editing to prevent deadly diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease.

The study found that 65 percent of Americans would approve of using gene editing to prevent conditions such as blindness. There also was support for using the technology to reduce the risk of diseases that might develop later in life, such as cancer.

However, 66 percent of Americans oppose using gene editing to change qualities such as intelligence or athletic ability. They also oppose changing physical qualities such as eye color or height, the study found.

Dr. Robert Klitzman studies biological research rules. He noted that, if fertility clinics start to edit the genes of embryos, there will be hard choices to make about what conditions can be changed.

What if scientists could identify genes involved with depression or autism or high body weight? Would they be acceptable to edit? “It’s one thing to look at the extremes of fatal diseases versus cosmetic things, but in the middle are going to be these very different issues,” Klitzman said.

More Americans oppose than approve of government support for testing gene-editing technology on human embryos. About 25 percent of them have no opinion.

Jaron Keener, the Pittsburgh museum worker, said that he opposes the research because he fears it would not be used only to fight disease.

“I just don’t have a lot of confidence people wouldn’t use it for their own gain,” he said.

The study suggests a lack of trust in the technology. About one-third of Americans think gene editing will be used before it is fully tested. Many scientists believe this has already happened in China.

Nearly 90 percent of the people in the study thought that the technology will be used for the wrong reasons.

I’m ­Pete Musto.

_____________________________________________________________

Words in This Story

editing – n. the process of making changes to something

DNA – n. a substance that carries genetic information in the cells of plants and animals

chronic – adj. a substance that carries genetic information in the cells of plants and animals

toll (that has) taken – idiom. a serious, bad effect something has on another thing

replace – v. to put someone or something new in the place or position of someone or something

sperm – n. a cell that is produced by the male sexual organs and that combines with the female's egg in reproduction

guideline(s) – n. a rule or instruction that shows or tells how something should be done

fertility clinic(s) – n. a place where people get medical help for issues with their ability to produce children

versus – adv. used to show two different things or choices that are being compared or considered

cosmetic – adj. not important or meaningful

confidence – n. a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something


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