您現在的位置︰ 紐約時報中英文網 >> 紐約時報中英文版 >> 科學 >> 正文

美高梅官方网站_美高梅官方开户_澳门美高梅官方开户_美高梅网址

更新時間:2019/4/24 21:28:15 來源:紐約時報中文網 作者:佚名

The jellyfish that never dies
蘊藏生命永不終結秘密的水母

Humans have always been fascinated by the idea of cheating death.

人類總是會對欺騙死亡的長生不老想法很感興趣。

We’ve looked to everything from religion, the planets, cryogenics and even the mythical fountain of youth. While we were searching the heavens, science and all the corners of the Earth, the secret of immortality may have been floating in the ocean this whole time. In the form of a jellyfish.

為了尋求永生的秘密,人類窮盡了無數方法,從宗教到外太空的行星,再到低溫物理學,甚至探求神話里的青春之泉,但都一無所獲。或許當我們從天空、科學和地球的天涯海角尋找不朽之道時,長生不老的秘密可能一直便漂浮在海洋中,以水母的形式出現。

When we think of a jellyfish, what most of us is picturing is the “Medusa stage”, the second stage of jellyfish life. They spend this part of their lives as opaque drifting balloons with trailing tentacles.

當我們想到水母時,我們大多數人腦海中所出現的都是水母生命的第二階段,即“水母體階段”。在這個階段,水母呈現出如不透明的漂流氣球形態,還帶隨著觸手。

Jellyfish start their lives as larva, tiny cigar shaped creatures that spiral through the water, looking for a rock or something handy to attach itself to. Once firmly in place, the larva metamorphoses into a polyp, rather like a tiny sea anemone. Colonies of these polyps are created as the polyp clones itself which means a colony can cover an entire boat dock in a matter of days. Some types of polyp form huge shrub-like bushes. When the conditions are right, these polyps bloom in vast numbers and when they bloom, what buds from the polyp are baby jellyfish.

水母的生命是從幼蟲開始的。這種微小的雪茄煙形狀的生物在水中盤旋,不斷尋找一塊石頭或一些方便自己附著的東西。一旦附著到堅實的東西表面,水母幼蟲就會變態為一只水螅體,而此時的長相就像一只小小的海葵。這些水螅體的群體是以水螅體無性自我繁殖,即克隆形式產生的,這意味著一個水螅體群體可以在幾天內覆蓋整個船塢。一些種類的水螅體會形成巨大的灌木型叢帶。當條件合適的時候,這些水螅體會大量開花,當它們開花的時候,從水螅體中長出的花蕾便是小水母。

If the start of jellyfish life wasn’t extraordinary enough, its death is where things get really exciting. When the medusa the immortal jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii) dies, it sinks to the ocean floor and begins to decay. Amazingly, its cells then reaggregate, not into a new medusa, but into polyps, and from these polyps emerge new jellyfish. The jellyfish has skipped to an earlier life stage to begin again.

如果說水母的生命開端還不夠奇特非凡,那它的死亡才真正讓人興奮不已。當燈塔水母(Turritopsis dohrnii)即我們所說的不朽水母的水母體死亡時,會下沉到海底並開始腐爛。令人驚奇的是,它的細胞隨後會重新聚集,不是變成新的水母,而是變成水螅體,然後從這些水螅體中又會產生新的水母。這時水母回到其生命的第一個階段,重新開始它的生命循環。

“This was a real mind blower for all of us,” says Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin, a jellyfish researcher based in Tasmania and director of the Marine Stinger Advisory Service. “It's one of the most amazing discoveries of our time.”

塔斯馬尼亞的水母研究員以及海洋毒刺咨詢服務主任的格什溫博士(Lisa-ann Gershwin)說,“這個發現對我們所有人來說都是震撼且不可思議的,這可以說是我們這個時代最驚人的發現之一。”

It’s not just the immortal jellyfish that can rise from its own ashes. In 2011, a marine biology student in China kept a moon jellyfish (aurelia aurita) in a tank. When it died, he kept the body in another tank. Three months later, a new tiny polyp was growing out the top of the moon jellyfish. This regeneration process has now been found in around five species of jellyfish.

不僅是不朽水母能從自己的遺骸中重新獲得生命,甚至別的類型的水母也有“不朽”的特質。2011年,中國一名海洋生物專業的學生把一只海月水母(Aurelia aurita)放在一個水槽里生活,在它死後,他把水母尸體放在另一個水槽里。三個月後,一種新的小水螅體從已死亡的海月水母頂端生長出來。這種再生過程現已在大約五種水母中發現。

So aside from eternal life, what’s the benefit for the jellyfish itself? Why do it? Well, it means when it becomes weakened either by age or illness, or it faces danger, it can call up its incredible survival mechanism and regenerate.

因此,除了永恆的生命,這種再生過程對水母這個物種本身有什麼好處呢?為什麼它們要這麼做?不少人認為,這個再生過程意味著,當水母因年齡或疾病而變得虛弱,或面臨危險時,它就可以使用其難以置信的再生機制重獲新生。

Once the process begins, the bell of the jellyfish (the generally rounder “parachute” part at the top) and its tentacles begin to deteriorate. It turns back into a polyp, attaches itself to a surface and begins to grow into a jellyfish all over again, and it can do it over and over.

一旦這個過程開始,水母的“鐘”狀主體(通常是指圓頂的像“降落傘”的部分)和它的觸手就會開始衰弱,然後變回一個水螅體,並附著在一個某東西表面上,開始一次又一次地成長為水母,而它可以不斷地循環這個過程。

Part of what actually happens to the jellyfish in this process is called cellular transdifferentiation. Its cells change from type to another, producing a completely different body plan.

水母在再生過程中實際發生的一個生物現象通常被稱為細胞轉化。水母的細胞從一種類型改變到另一種類型,從而產生了一個完全不同的身體。

Although Dr Gershwin says she can’t see any link currently between jellyfish immortality and our own, it doesn’t mean some sort of genetic splicing would not be possible in the future. Who knows? A few jelly genes and we could all be like Doctor Who, regenerating whenever we wearied of ourselves.

盡管格什溫博士說她目前看不到水母永生與人類生命之間的任何聯系,但這並不意味著將來不會產生任何形式的基因剪接作用。誰又能預測未來呢?也許在以後,只需要運用一些水母基因,我們都能成為神秘博士(英國科幻小說電視連續劇中可以不斷重生的主角),在我們厭倦自己的人生之時可以選擇重來。

“全文請訪問紐約時報中文網,本文發表于紐約時報中文網(http://cn.nytimes.com),版權歸紐約時報公司所有。任何單位及個人未經許可,不得擅自轉載或翻譯。訂閱紐約時報中文網新聞電郵︰http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相關文章列表