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近年来,疟疾等由蚊子传播的疾病在美国南部呈现上升趋势。美国环保局今年5月批准了一项计划,允许英国生物科技公司Oxitec在佛罗里达州和德克萨斯州释放转基因蚊子,以消灭雌蚊,控制疾病传播。

 

美国将在佛州和德州释放转基因蚊子 Photo by Егор Камелев on Unsplash

 

A British biotech company called Oxitec has permission to release genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida and Texas.

一家名为Oxitec的英国生物科技公司已获得许可,将在佛罗里达州和德克萨斯州释放转基因蚊子。

The Environmental Protection Agency approved an experimental use permit May 1 that allows Oxitec to release genetically modified mosquitoes in the Florida Keys and Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located.

美国环保局5月1日批准了一项试验使用许可,允许Oxitec公司在佛罗里达群岛和德克萨斯州休斯顿所在的哈里斯县释放转基因蚊子。

"To meet today’s public health challenges head-on, the nation needs to facilitate innovation and advance the science around new tools and approaches to better protect the health of all Americans,” according to the EPA’s news release.

环保局发布的新闻稿中写道:“为了正面迎接现在的公共卫生挑战,美国需要促进创新、推动围绕新工具和新方法的科学进步,以更好地保护所有美国人的健康。”

head-on: adj. 正面的;直接的;头朝前的

 

The permit, which lasts for two years, requires Oxitec to “monitor and sample the mosquito population weekly.”

这一为期两年的许可令要求Oxitec公司“每周对蚊子进行监控和抽样检验。”

"EPA has also maintained the right to cancel the (permit) at any point during the 24-month period if unforeseen outcomes occur,” according to the release.

新闻稿称:“如果发生了不可预见的结果,环保局保留在24个月内的任何时间点取消许可令的权利。”

 

等等。为什么一家公司会造出一种新型蚊子?这种蚊子有什么作用呢?

Remember a few years ago when people – especially pregnant women – were concerned about contracting the Zika virus?

记得几年前人们——尤其是孕妇——担心感染寨卡病毒吗?

It’s the virus that could cause a birth defect called microcephaly (underdevelopment of the head and brain), according to the Centers for Disease Control.

根据美国疾病控制中心,寨卡病毒会导致一种名为小头畸形(头部和脑部发育不全)的出生缺陷。

Well, Oxitec claims its Aedes aegypti mosquito (known as the OX5034) can drastically reduce the spread of Zika as well as dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.

Oxitec公司声称他们的转基因埃及伊蚊(通用名:OX5034)可以大幅降低寨卡病毒以及登革热、基孔肯雅热和黄热病的传播。

Male mosquitoes don’t bite; they feed on flower nectar. Basically, male mosquitoes are harmless to humans. But female mosquitoes use blood to grow their eggs.

雄蚊不会咬人,它们以花蜜为食。基本上,雄蚊对人类是无害的。但雌蚊靠吸血来育卵。

nectar[ˈnektər]: n. 花蜜;甘露;神酒;任何美味的饮料

 

Oxitec created a male mosquito with a special gene that prevents female offspring from surviving to adulthood. The new males grow up, mate with more females and over time the number of Aedes Aegypti declines.

Oxitec公司造出一种拥有特别基因的雄蚊,可以防止雌性后代存活到成年。新的雄蚊会长大,和更多雌蚊交配,随着时间过去,埃及伊蚊的数量就会减少。

In Brazil, which suffered a Zika outbreak in 2015 and 2016, the company claims its “friendly” mosquitoes reduced the population of Aedes Aegypti by 89% to 96%.

巴西在2015年至2016年曾暴发寨卡病毒,该公司声称它们的“友好”蚊子将巴西的埃及伊蚊的数量减少了89%到96%。

Is there opposition to these genetically modified mosquitoes?

这种转基因蚊子有没有遭到过反对?

Yes.

有的。

Oxitec has been trying to make Florida the first US test site for its “friendly” mosquitoes for nearly a decade.

近十年来,Oxitec公司一直试图让佛罗里达州成为美国首个测试“友好”蚊子的试验区。

The company came close in 2016, but local officials in Monroe County (the Florida Keys) ultimately voted no. Oxitec pulled its request and decided to try again with what it described as an upgraded version of the mosquito. That’s what the EPA approved May 1.

该公司在2016年差点就成功了,但是门罗县(佛罗里达群岛)的当地官员最终投了反对票。Oxitec公司撤回申请,决定用据称是升级版的蚊子再试一次。这就是环保局5月1日批准的转基因蚊子。

Before weekly mosquito releases can start, however, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District have to approve.

然而,在每周释放蚊子的项目启动前,还需经过佛罗里达农业和消费者服务部以及佛罗里达群岛蚊虫控制区的批准。

The Florida Keys Environmental Coalition hopes to persuade officials to vote no again.

佛罗里达群岛环保联盟希望说服官员再次投反对票。

"We have repeatedly asked for Oxitec to work with us to prove the technology is safe," Barry Wray, executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, said in a statement in 2018 after Oxitec applied for its second permit.

在Oxitec公司申请第二个许可证后,佛罗里达群岛环保联盟的执行理事巴里·雷2018年在一份声明中说:“我们已经反复请求Oxitec公司与我们合作来证明这一技术是安全的。”

"Instead of receiving Oxitec's cooperation to provide this confidence, we have witnessed a pattern of avoidance, misrepresentations, obfuscations and using marketing and political influence to persuade the stakeholders to proceed with what is truly a poorly designed experiment on our public and ecosystems," Wray said.

“但是,Oxitec公司不但没有与我们合作来说服我们,我们还目睹了逃避、歪曲、迷惑以及用营销和政治影响来说服各方利益团体对公众和生态系统进行一个设计如此拙劣的试验。”

The Texas releases aren’t scheduled until 2021.

德克萨斯州的释放蚊子项目则要到2021年才提上日程。

 

英文来源:今日美国

翻译&编辑:丹妮

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