Could ants help to detect cancer? 螞蟻能幫助 “嗅出” 癌症?

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科學家們訓練螞蟻識別尿液中的氣味變化,以幫助他們瞭解測試對象是否患癌症。

The researchers from Sorbonne Paris Nord University say they were surprised by how efficient and reliable the ants were in sniffing out cancer. 70 ants belonging to the species known as Formica fusca were exposed to urine samples from mice with and without cancerous cells.

來自巴黎第十三大學(又稱 “索邦-巴黎北大學”)的研究人員表示,他們對螞蟻能如此高效並可靠地 “嗅出” 癌症感到驚訝,70隻屬於 “絲光褐林蟻” 品種的螞蟻接觸了來自有癌細胞和無癌細胞的老鼠尿液樣本。

The study showed they were quickly able to tell the difference between the urine odour of healthy mice and that of tumour-bearing mice, because they’d learnt to associate the smell with a treat.

研究顯示,這些螞蟻很快就能分辨出健康老鼠和帶腫瘤老鼠的尿液氣味之間的區別,因為牠們學會了將尿液中癌細胞的氣味與甜味食物聯結起來。

Scientists now want to see if the insects can do the same for humans. They say ants are a good option because they learn fast and are not expensive to keep.

科學家們現在想研究螞蟻能否通過人類尿液中的氣味變化識別癌症,他們說,螞蟻是一個很好的選擇,因為牠們學習速度快,飼養成本也不高。

字彙表

sniffing out 嗅出,聞出
exposed 使暴露,使接觸
urine 尿液
cancerous 癌的,癌症的
tumour-bearing 帶腫瘤的
associate 將(兩種事物)聯絡起來

閱讀理解:請在讀完上文後,回答下列問題。

1. What was the scientists’ reaction to the ants’ ability to detect cancer?

2. How many ants were exposed to mouse urine?

3. True or false? Ants detected cancer in treats that mice were eating.

4. Why are ants a good option for the task of cancer detection?

答案  

1. What was the scientists’ reaction to the ants’ ability to detect cancer?
The scientists say they were surprised by how efficient and reliable the ants were in sniffing out cancer.

2. How many ants were exposed to mouse urine?
70 ants were exposed to urine samples from mice.

3. True or false? Ants detected cancer in treats that mice were eating.
False. The ants were quickly able to detect cancer because they’d learnt to associate the smell with a treat.

4. Why are ants a good option for the task of cancer detection?
Ants are a good option because they learn fast and are not expensive to keep.