Cane toad DNA breakthrough ‘may help stop’ toxic pest DNA 研究突破 “可能幫助防治” 有毒害動物海蟾蜍

A discovery has been made about the cane toad's DNA. Find out how this might help Australian farmers.
Cane toad discovery.

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科學家們說,他們已經破解了海蟾蜍的 DNA 藍圖,該物種對部分動植物棲息地造成了破壞,而這一發現讓人們重新燃起了控制這一事態的希望。

文字稿

The cane toad originally came from South America and was introduced to Australia in 1935 with the hope that they would eat the beetles which were devouring sugar cane. But they ended up eating everything except the beetles. And they’ve been spreading through Australia ever since, poisoning native wildlife as they go.

海蟾蜍源於南美,並在1935年被引進澳大利亞,當時人們希望它們能吃掉吞食甘蔗的甲蟲。然而它們卻吃了除甲蟲以外的所有動物。而且自那以來,海蟾蜍蔓延至澳大利亞各地,其所到之處的當地野生動植物都受到了毒害。

Snakes, lizards and even crocodiles can die if they ingest the amphibian’s deadly toxin. Now the possibility of a genetics-led solution is at hand. An international team of scientists has succeeded in unlocking more than 90% of the toad’s genome – its genetic material. To get this information, the teams used advanced computers to sequence 360 billion DNA pairs, meaning they’ve worked out the exact order of the four bases in a strand of DNA.

如果攝入了這種兩棲動物的致命毒素,蛇、蜥蜴,甚至鱷魚都可能會被毒死。現在,由遺傳學主導的潛在解決方法就近在咫尺。一支由多國科學家組成的團隊已成功破解了海蟾蜍超過 90% 的基因組資訊,即其遺傳物質。為了得到這一資訊,這些團隊用先進的電腦測定了三千六百億對 DNA 序列,這意味著他們已算出一串 DNA 中四種鹼基的順序。

The researchers said the discovery would offer biological clues about the animal’s evolution. The scientists have also discovered three new viruses within the toad’s DNA, which could be used to control pests. But in a country which has a long history of introducing species with disastrous consequences, scientists will be cautious with the way they use this new information.

這組研究人員說,該發現將為解釋該動物的進化過程提供生物學線索。科學家們還在這種蟾蜍的 DNA 中發現了三種新的病毒,它們可能被用來控制有害動植物。但在澳大利亞,由於長期以來引進新物種導致了諸多災難性的後果,科學家會謹慎考慮應如何利用這些新資訊。

1. 詞彙表

devouring 吞食
poisoning 毒害
native 當地的,原生的
ingest 攝入、攝取
toxin 毒素
genetics-led solution 遺傳學主導的解決辦法
genome 基因組
sequence 測定 DNA 的排列順序(生物學術語)
biological clues 生物學線索
pests 有害的動植物
disastrous 災難性的
cautious 謹慎的

2. 閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題。 

1. How were cane toads supposed to stop Australia’s sugar cane being destroyed?

2. What have scientists discovered in the toad that has given them ‘biological clues’ about their evolution?

3. What has been discovered in the toad’s DNA that could control pests?

4. True or false? Introducing other animals in Australia has not always gone well.

3. 答案

1. How were cane toads supposed to stop Australia’s sugar cane being destroyed?
They were supposed to eat the beetles which were devouring sugar cane but they ended up eating everything except the beetles.

2. What have scientists discovered in the toad that has given them ‘biological clues’ about their evolution?
Scientists have succeeded in unlocking more than 90% of the toad’s genome – that’s its genetic material.

3. What has been discovered in the toad’s DNA that could control pests?
The scientists have discovered three new viruses within the toad’s DNA, which could be used to control pests.

4. True or false? Introducing other animals in Australia has not always gone well.
True. The reporter said the country had a long history of introducing species with disastrous consequences.

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