Skip to content

【卫报】婴儿定制,或许只是一步之遥

【卫报】婴儿定制,或许只是一步之遥


近日,媒体广泛报道的世界首例“免疫艾滋病”基因编辑双生婴儿出生事件引起全球关注和强烈反响,政府监管机构和科学界纷纷对“基因编辑”表达了极大的担忧。而事实上,已经有美国公司提供通过基因选择来定制高智商婴儿的服务了。婴儿定制,目前在技术层面已经可行,但仍有许多技术以外的问题值得我们思考。它的出现,使人不得不警惕是否意味着打开了潘多拉魔盒?


婴儿订制,或许只是一步之遥

【卫报】婴儿定制,或许只是一步之遥

作者:Philip Ball

译者:王津雨& 邵海灵

校对:徐嘉茵

策划:邹世昌


Genetic selection for intelligence has hit the market – and proper regulation has become more critical than ever.

甄别智商的基因选择服务已经面世了——而合理制定相关法规从未像现在这样如此重要。


本文选自 The Guardian | 取经号原创翻译

关注取经号,回复关键词“外刊”

获取《经济学人》等原版外刊获得方法


In his new book Blueprint, the psychologist Robert Plomin explains that it is now possible from our individual genome data to make a meaningful prediction about our IQ. When I discussed the topic with Plomin last month, we agreed on the need for urgent discussion of the implications, before genetic selection of embryos for intelligence hits the market. We’re too late. A company called Genomic Prediction, based in New Jersey, has announced that it will offer that service. New Scientist reports that it has already begun talks with American IVF clinics to find customers. They won’t be in short supply.

心理学家罗伯特·普罗明在其新作《蓝图》中解释道,从人类个体基因组数据中对人类智商做出较为可靠的预测,现已成为可能。上个月我与普罗明谈论了这个话题,我们一致认为,在基于智商甄选胚胎的基因选择技术进入市场之前,当务之急是要讨论这一技术可能引发的后果。但我们晚了一步。总部位于新泽西州的一家名为“基因组预测”(Genomic Prediction)的公司已经宣布它将提供这项服务。据《新科学家》报道,为寻找客户,该公司已开始与美国的试管婴儿诊所进行洽谈——他们不会发愁没有客源的。

implication /ˌɪmplɪˈkeʃən/ n. The implications of something are the things that are likely to happen as a result. 可能引发的后果


Before we start imagining a Gattaca-style future of genetic elites and underclasses, there’s some context needed. The company says it is only offering such testing to spot embryos with an IQ low enough to be classed as a disability, and won’t conduct analyses for high IQ. But the technology the company is using will permit that in principle, and co-founder Stephen Hsu, who has long advocated for the prediction of traits from genes, is quoted as saying: “If we don’t do it, some other company will.”

人们会开始想象,未来会变成像电影《千钧一发》中那样,按基因划分出精英人群和底层人群。不过在此之前,我们需要了解一些背景信息。“基因组预测”公司表示,它提供的检测服务,仅用于发现智商低到足以被界定为残疾的胚胎,并且他们不会对高智商胚胎进行分析。但原则上讲,该公司采用的技术是支持高智商检测的;而且,引用公司的联合创始人史蒂芬·徐(Stephen Hsu)的话来说:“就算我们不做,其他公司也会做。”而史蒂芬·徐长久以来一直主张通过基因预测人的个性特征。

 

The development must be set, too, against what is already possible and permitted in IVF embryo screening. The procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) involves extracting cells from embryos at a very early stage and “reading” their genomes before choosing which to implant. It has been enabled by rapid advances in genome-sequencing technology, making the process fast and relatively cheap. In the UK, PGD is strictly regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which permits its use to identify embryos with several hundred rare genetic diseases of which the parents are known to be carriers. PGD for other purposes is illegal.

上述技术的发展也必须对照试管婴儿的胚胎筛选技术目前能够达到和允许达到的层面来看。这一筛选过程被称为“植入前基因诊断”(PGD),包括在非常早期的阶段就从胚胎中提取细胞,先“读取”它们的基因组,再决定植入哪个胚胎。基因组测序技术的飞速发展不仅实现了上述过程,还加快了它的速度,植入的价格也相对低廉了。在英国,PGD技术受到人类受精和胚胎学管理局(HFEA)的严格监管,它允许PGD技术用于鉴定胚胎是否带有几百种罕见的遗传疾病,且胚胎的父母已确认为该疾病的携带者。出于其他目的使用PGD技术则是违法的。

 

In the US it’s a very different picture. Restrictive laws about what can be done in embryo and stem-cell research using federal funding sit alongside a largely unregulated, laissez-faire private sector, including IVF clinics. PGD to select an embryo’s sex for “family balancing” is permitted, for example. There is nothing in US law to prevent PGD for selecting embryos with “high IQ”.

美国的情况则大不相同。虽然在使用联邦经费进行胚胎和干细胞研究方面已经有法律做出了限制,但与此同时,大批包括试管婴儿诊所在内的私营部门却不受监管、放任自流。比如,为“平衡家庭人员构成”而使用PGD技术选择胚胎的性别是被允许的。美国法律也没有明令禁止使用PGD技术选择“高智商”胚胎。

 

But what exactly does that mean? The work of Plomin and others has shown over the past few years that correlations exist between the code in our genomes and pretty much any trait you can think of, including IQ and academic achievement. Such links to complex traits (as opposed to single-gene diseases) are usually invisible for any individual gene, but become significant when the influence of hundreds or even thousands of genes are summed in “polygenic scores”.

但这究竟意味着什么呢?过去几年中,普罗明及他人的研究结果就已表明,人类基因组中的密码与几乎所有你能想到的个性特征(包括智商和学业成绩)之间都有关联。与单个基因导致的疾病不同,你通常看不出来复杂的个性特征与单个基因之间的关联;但如果借助“多基因评分”将数百甚至数千个基因造成的影响加起来,这种关联就非常重大了。


These relationships are, however, statistical. If you have a polygenic score that places you in the top 10% of academic achievers, that doesn’t mean you will ace your exams without effort. Even setting aside the substantial proportion of intelligence (typically around 50%) that seems to be due to the environment and not inherited, there are wide variations for a given polygenic score, one reason being that there’s plenty of unpredictability in brain wiring during growth and development.

然而,上述关联只是统计学上的意义。如果你的多基因评分显示你在学业方面优于90%的人群,那也并不意味着你就能轻而易举地取得优异成绩。即使撇开相当大比例(一般为50%左右)与环境而非遗传相关的智商表现不谈,一个测出的基因综合评分仍然意味着极其众多的可能性,其中一个原因是:在成长和发育过程中,脑回路的形成具有太多不可预测的成分了。

 

So the service offered by Genomic Prediction, while it might help to spot extreme low-IQ outliers, is of very limited value for predicting which of several “normal” embryos will be smartest. Imagine, though, the misplaced burden of expectation on a child “selected” to be bright who doesn’t live up to it. If embryo selection for high IQ goes ahead, this will happen.

虽然“基因组预测”公司提供的服务或许有助于我们发现智商极低的异常基因,但要从一组正常胚胎中预测出哪一个将来最聪明,这种技术的作用是极其有限的。想象一下,如果一个被“甄选”出来的小孩并没有表现出异于常人的聪明,那些被错误寄予的厚望对他来说将是多么沉重的负担。如果任凭这一技术发展到高智商胚胎筛选的地步,这一幕就肯定会发生。

 

What’s more, the many genes involved in a polygenic score for intelligence are in no sense “genes for intelligence”; they will have many roles. If you’re “selecting for intelligence” you don’t know what else you might be selecting for, for better or worse.

再者说,用来预测智商的多基因评分所涉及的种种基因,绝对不是只为智商而存在的。这些基因扮演着许多种角色。你在“筛选智商”的时候,并不知道一同被筛出来的还有些什么,也不知道这些被筛选出来的特性会让人变得更好还是更坏。

 

So the science behind embryo IQ testing is still shaky. But before we get too indignant about the horrors of designer babies, bear in mind that already we permit, even in the UK, prenatal screening for Down’s syndrome, a disability that produces low to moderate intellectual disability. It’s not easy to make a moral or philosophical case that the screening offered by Genomic Prediction for low IQ is any different. There may be more uncertainty but, given not all IVF embryos will be implanted anyway, can we object to tipping the scales? And how can we condone efforts to improve your child’s intelligence after birth but not before?

所以胚胎智商测试背后的技术其实还很不牢靠。但在我们对婴儿订制的恐怖后果感到愤怒之前,请先记住,我们已经允许使用这项技术在妊娠期间筛查唐氏综合症了,即使英国也不例外。这种病症会导致胎儿的智力出现较低或中等程度的受损。而你很难从道德或哲学层面去判定,“基因组检测”公司提供的低智商筛查服务与唐筛有什么不同。或许前者有更多不确定性,但,既然不是所有人工授精的胚胎都会被植入母体,那让天平再倾斜一点点,你又能怎样反对呢?再说,如果你不能容忍在婴儿出生之前提高他的智力,那么在他出生之后为提高智力而做的努力,又怎么能够容忍呢?

indignant /ɪn’dɪɡnənt/ adj. angry and surprised because you feel insulted or unfairly treated [由于感觉受辱或受到不公平待遇而]气愤的,愤慨的,愤愤不平的


The questions are complicated. How to balance individual rights against what is good for society as a whole? When does avoidance of disease and disability shade into enhancement? Should society be more receptive to disability rather than seeing it as something to be eradicated? When does choice become tyranny?

这些问题是复杂的。如何在个人权利和整个社会的利益之间做出平衡?避免疾病和残疾与提高智力和体质,两者的界限在哪里?社会是否应该提升对残疾的接受度,而不是将其视作洪水猛兽、必须连根拔除?选择会在什么时候蜕变成暴政?

 

In the UK we are extraordinarily lucky to have the HFEA, which frames binding regulation after careful deliberation and acts as a brake so the technology does not outrun the debate. “Embryo selection needs robust regulation that society can be confident in,” says Ewan Birney, director of the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge. Leaving a matter such as this to unregulated market forces is dangerous.

英国人很幸运,因为我们有人类受精和胚胎学管理局(HFEA),他们会审时度势,制定法规,以免这列技术列车超速行驶,在人们还在争论之时就先开到禁区去了。剑桥大学欧洲生物信息学院院长伊万·伯尼说:“基因筛选需要社会可以信任的有力监管。”把这种技术交给不受监管的市场力量,将是非常危险的。


上个账号被 永封


提出问题的人 被解决了


后台回复关键词和谐】


防止取经号 再次消失


#访问取经号官网#

网站域名 qujinghao.com,即“取经号”的全拼

#外刊资源#

后台回复 外刊,获取《经济学人》等原版外刊获得方法

#关注取经号#

扫描 二维码,关注跑得快的取经号(id: J2West

【卫报】婴儿定制,或许只是一步之遥


<原文地址:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/19/designer-babies-ethical-genetic-selection-intelligence >


始发于微信公众号: 取经号

Be First to Comment

发表评论

电子邮件地址不会被公开。 必填项已用*标注