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  • Alright, let me tell you about building synthetic cells

    譯者: Lilian Chiu 審譯者: 易帆 余

  • and printing life.


  • But first, let me tell you a quick story.


  • On March 31, 2013,


  • my team and I received an email from an international health organization,

    2013 年 3 月 31 日,

  • alerting us that two men died in China

    我的團隊和我收到一封電子郵件, 寄件者是一間國際健康組織,

  • shortly after contracting the H7N9 bird flu.

    內容是警告我們, 在中國有兩個人死亡,

  • There were fears of a global pandemic

    那是他們染上 H7N9 禽流感之後沒多久的事。

  • as the virus started rapidly moving across China.


  • Although methods existed to produce a flu vaccine


  • and stop the disease from spreading,


  • at best, it would not be available for at least six months.


  • This is because a slow, antiquated flu vaccine manufacturing process

    但最好的情況是要等至少 六個月才有疫苗可用。

  • developed over 70 years ago was the only option.

    這是因為流感疫苗的 製造流程很緩慢、很過時,

  • The virus would need to be isolated from infected patients,

    是至少 70 年前發明的, 但它卻是唯一的選擇。

  • packaged up and then sent to a facility


  • where scientists would inject the virus into chicken eggs,


  • and incubate those chicken eggs for several weeks

    在機構中,科學家會 把病毒注射到雞蛋中,

  • in order to prepare the virus for the start of a multistep,


  • multimonth flu vaccine manufacturing process.

    這樣才能將病毒準備好, 開始進行這個有很多步驟、

  • My team and I received this email


  • because we had just invented a biological printer,


  • which would allow for the flu vaccine instructions

    是因為我們剛發明了 一台生物列印機,

  • to be instantly downloaded from the internet and printed.


  • Drastically speeding up the way in which flu vaccines are made,

    下載流感疫苗的說明書, 並將疫苗列印出來。

  • and potentially saving thousands of lives.


  • The biological printer leverages our ability to read and write DNA


  • and starts to bring into focus

    生物列印機能讓我們 發揮讀寫 DNA 的能力,

  • what we like to call biological teleportation.


  • I am a biologist and an engineer who builds stuff out of DNA.


  • Believe it or not, one of my favorite things to do

    我是生物學家及工程師, 我用 DNA 來建造東西。

  • is to take DNA apart and put it back together

    信不信由你, 我最喜歡做的事情之一,

  • so that I can understand better how it works.

    就是把 DNA 拆解, 再把它組裝回去,

  • I can edit and program DNA to do things, just like coders programing a computer.


  • But my apps are different.

    我可以編輯 DNA、為它寫程式, 就像程式人員為電腦寫程式。

  • They create life.


  • Self-replicating living cells and things like vaccines and therapeutics


  • that work in ways that were previously impossible.

    自我複製的活細胞, 以及像疫苗及治療法等等,

  • Here's National Medal of Science recipient Craig Venter


  • and Nobel laureate Ham Smith.

    這是美國國家科學獎章 得主克萊格凡特,

  • These two guys shared a similar vision.


  • That vision was, because all of the functions and characteristics


  • of all biological entities, including viruses and living cells,


  • are written into the code of DNA,


  • if one can read and write that code of DNA,


  • then they can be reconstructed in a distant location.

    全都被寫在 DNA 碼當中,

  • This is what we mean by biological teleportation.

    如果你能夠讀寫 DNA 碼,

  • To prove out this vision,


  • Craig and Ham set a goal of creating, for the first time,


  • a synthetic cell, starting from DNA code in the computer.


  • I mean, come on, as a scientist looking for a job,

    克萊格和漢彌爾頓設定了 一個目標,這是第一次

  • doing cutting-edge research, it doesn't get any better than this.

    合成細胞是從電腦中的 DNA 碼開始創造出來的。

  • (Laughter)

    我的意思是,拜託, 對一個正在找工作的科學家,

  • OK, a genome is a complete set of DNA within an organism.

    做最尖端的研究, 沒有什麼比這更好的了。

  • Following the Human Genome Project in 2003,


  • which was an international effort to identify

    好,基因組是在有機體當中 完整的一組 DNA。

  • the complete genetic blueprint of a human being,

    2003 年有一個人類基因組計劃, 它是一項國際合作,

  • a genomics revolution happened.

    要找出人類的完整基因藍圖, 而在這計畫之後,

  • Scientists started mastering the techniques for reading DNA.


  • In order to determine the order of the As, Cs, Ts and Gs

    科學家開始精通讀 DNA 的技巧,

  • within an organism.

    目的是要判斷一個有機體 當中 A、C、T,

  • But my job was far different.

    和 G 的順序。

  • I needed to master the techniques for writing DNA.


  • Like an author of a book,

    我得要精通寫 DNA 的技巧。

  • this started out as writing short sentences,


  • or sequences of DNA code,


  • but this soon turned into writing paragraphs

    或是 DNA 碼的序列,

  • and then full-on novels of DNA code,


  • to make important biological instructions for proteins and living cells.

    再來就是要寫 DNA 碼的整本書了,

  • Living cells are nature's most efficient machines at making new products,

    也就是要針對蛋白質和活細胞, 編寫出重要的生物說明書。

  • accounting for the production

    就製造新產品來說,活細胞 是大自然中最有效率的機器,

  • of 25 percent of the total pharmaceutical market,


  • which is billions of dollars.

    整個藥品市場的 25%,

  • We knew that writing DNA would drive this bioeconomy even more,


  • once cells could be programmed just like computers.

    我們知道一旦寫細胞 DNA 程式 能夠像寫電腦程式一樣,

  • We also knew that writing DNA would enable biological teleportation ...


  • the printing of defined, biological material,

    我們也知道,能寫 DNA 就能讓生物傳送成真……

  • starting from DNA code.


  • As a step toward bringing these promises to fruition,

    從 DNA 碼開始。

  • our team set out to create, for the first time,


  • a synthetic bacterial cell,

    我們的團隊打算 做一件史無前例的事:

  • starting from DNA code in the computer.

    從電腦中的 DNA 碼開始,

  • Synthetic DNA is a commodity.


  • You can order very short pieces of DNA from a number of companies,

    合成 DNA 是一種商品。

  • and they will start from these four bottles of chemicals that make up DNA,

    你可以向好幾間公司 訂購非常短的 DNA,

  • G, A, T and C,

    它們會從製造 DNA 的 這四瓶化學物質開始:

  • and they will build those very short pieces of DNA for you.

    G、A、T,和 C,

  • Over the past 15 years or so,

    它們會為你建造出 那些非常短的 DNA。

  • my teams have been developing the technology

    在過去 15 年左右,

  • for stitching together those short pieces of DNA


  • into complete bacterial genomes.

    將那些非常短的 DNA 組合在一起,

  • The largest genome that we constructed contained over one million letters.


  • Which is more than twice the size of your average novel,

    我們建造出來最大的基因組 內容超過一百萬個字母。

  • and we had to put every single one of those letters in the correct order,


  • without a single typo.

    且我們把所有那些字母 通通都排成正確的順序,

  • We were able to accomplish this by developing a procedure


  • that I tried to call the "one-step isothermal in vitro recombination method."

    我們之所以能完成它, 是因為開發出了一種程序,

  • (Laughter)

    我想稱它為「一步驟 等溫室管內重新組合法」。

  • But, surprisingly, the science community didn't like this technically accurate name


  • and decided to call it Gibson Assembly.

    但意外的是,科學界並不喜歡 這種在技術面上很精確的命名,

  • Gibson Assembly is now the gold standard tool,


  • used in laboratories around the world


  • for building short and long pieces of DNA.


  • (Applause)

    用來建造短的及長的 DNA。

  • Once we chemically synthesized the complete bacterial genome,


  • our next challenge was to find a way

    一旦我們以化學方式合成了 完整的細菌基因組,

  • to convert it into a free-living, self-replicating cell.


  • Our approach was to think of the genome as the operating system of the cell,

    將它轉換為能獨立生存、 自我複製的細胞。

  • with the cell containing the hardware necessary to boot up the genome.

    我們的方法是把基因組 當作細胞的作業系統,

  • Through a lot of trial and error,

    細胞內含有必要的硬體, 可以啟動基因組。

  • we developed a procedure where we could reprogram cells


  • and even convert one bacterial species into another,

    我們發展出了一種程序, 讓我們能為細胞重新寫程式,

  • by replacing the genome of one cell with that of another.


  • This genome transplantation technology then paved the way

    做法就是將一個細胞的基因組 置換成另一個細胞的基因組。

  • for the booting-up of genomes written by scientists


  • and not by Mother Nature.


  • In 2010, all of the technologies


  • that we had been developing for reading and writing DNA

    2010 年,我們為了

  • all came together when we announced the creation

    讀寫 DNA 所發展的所有技術

  • of the first synthetic cell,

    通通整合在一起, 那時我們宣佈創造出了

  • which of course, we called Synthia.


  • (Laughter)

    當然,我們稱它為辛西雅。 (註:發音近似「合成」。)

  • Ever since the first bacterial genome was sequenced, back in 1995,


  • thousands more whole bacterial genomes have been sequenced and stored

    從 1995 年成功完成 第一次基因組定序之後,

  • in computer databases.

    有數千組細菌基因組被定序 並儲存在電腦資料庫中。

  • Our synthetic cell work was the proof of concept

    我們的合成細胞成果 證明了一個概念,

  • that we could reverse this process:


  • pull a complete bacterial genome sequence out of the computer

    從電腦中拉出一組 完整的細菌基因組列,

  • and convert that information into a free-living, self-replicating cell,

    將那資訊轉換成為獨立生存、 自我複製的細胞,

  • with all of the expected characteristics of the species that we constructed.

    且具有我們所建立之物種 應該要有的所有特徵。

  • Now I can understand why there may be concerns


  • about the safety of this level of genetic manipulation.


  • While the technology has the potential for great societal benefit,

    雖然這項技術可能可以 為社會帶來很大的益處,

  • it also has the potential for doing harm.


  • With this in mind, even before carrying out the very first experiment,

    我們的團隊牢記著這一點, 在開始進行最初一次實驗時,

  • our team started to work with the public and the government


  • to find solutions together


  • to responsibly develop and regulate this new technology.


  • One of the outcomes from those discussions was to screen every customer

    其中一項得出的討論結果 是要審查每一位客戶

  • and every customer's DNA synthesis orders,

    和每一位客戶的 DNA 合成順序,

  • to make sure that pathogens or toxins are not being made by bad guys,

    以確保不會有病原體 或毒物被壞人製造出來,

  • or accidentally by scientists.


  • All suspicious orders are reported to the FBI

    所有可疑的順序都要 回報給聯邦調查局

  • and other relevant law-enforcement agencies.


  • Synthetic cell technologies will power the next industrial revolution

    合成細胞技術能夠 驅動下一波的工業革命,

  • and transform industries and economies


  • in ways that address global sustainability challenges.


  • The possibilities are endless.


  • I mean, you can think of clothes


  • constructed form renewable biobased sources,


  • cars running on biofuel from engineered microbes,

    工程微生物所產生的生物燃料 可以供應給汽車使用,

  • plastics made from biodegradable polymers


  • and customized therapies, printed at a patient's bedside.

    還有客製化的治療, 直接在病人的病床邊列印出來。

  • The massive efforts to create synthetic cells


  • have made us world leaders at writing DNA.

    也因此我們在寫 DNA 這方面領先全世界。

  • Throughout the process, we found ways to write DNA faster,

    在這個過程中,我們發現了 可以更快速寫 DNA 的方式,

  • more accurately and more reliably.


  • Because of the robustness of these technologies,


  • we found that we could readily automate the processes

    我們發現,我們已經 可以將過程給自動化,

  • and move the laboratory workflows out of the scientist's hands

    科學家不用再處理 實驗室的工作流程,

  • and onto a machine.


  • In 2013, we built the first DNA printer.

    2013 年,我們打造了 第一台 DNA 列印機。

  • We call it the BioXp.

    我們把它取名叫 BioXp。

  • And it has been absolutely essential in writing DNA

    它對於寫 DNA 來說非常重要,

  • across a number of applications


  • my team and researchers around the world are working on.


  • It was shortly after we built the BioXp

    在我們打造出 BioXp 之後沒多久,

  • that we received that email about the H7N9 bird flu scare in China.

    我們就收到了那封關於 中國 H7N9 禽流感的電子郵件。

  • A team of Chinese scientists had already isolated the virus,

    中國的一個科學家團隊 已經將病毒分離出來,

  • sequenced its DNA and uploaded the DNA sequence to the internet.

    將它的 DNA 定序, 並把該 DNA 序列上傳到網路上。

  • At the request of the US government, we downloaded the DNA sequence

    在美國政府的請求下, 我們下載了該 DNA 序列,

  • and in less than 12 hours, we printed it on the BioXp.

    不到 12 小時,我們 就用 BioXp 列印了它。

  • Our collaborators at Novartis


  • then quickly started turning that synthetic DNA into a flu vaccine.

    很快就開始將那合成 DNA 轉為流感疫苗。

  • Meanwhile, the CDC, using technology dating back to the 1940s,

    同時,疾病防治中心用的是 40 年代發展的技術,

  • was still waiting for the virus to arrive from China

    他們還在等待 從中國送過來的病毒,

  • so that they could begin their egg-based approach.

    收到之後他們才能開始 採用雞蛋培育的那種方式。

  • For the first time, we had a flu vaccine developed ahead of time

    這是第一次,我們針對 一種可能很危險的新菌株

  • for a new and potentially dangerous strain,


  • and the US government ordered a stockpile.


  • (Applause)


  • This was when I began to appreciate, more than ever,


  • the power of biological teleportation.


  • (Laughter)


  • Naturally, with this in mind,


  • we started to build a biological teleporter.


  • We call it the DBC.

    我們稱它為 DBC,

  • That's short for digital-to-biological converter.


  • Unlike the BioXp,

    它和 BioXp 不同,

  • which starts from pre-manufactured short pieces of DNA,

    BioXp 是從預先製造的 短 DNA 開始,

  • the DBC starts from digitized DNA code

    而 DBC 是從數位化的 DNA 碼開始,

  • and converts that DNA code into biological entities,

    並將該 DNA 碼轉換為生物實體,

  • such as DNA, RNA, proteins or even viruses.

    比如 DNA、RNA、 蛋白質,或甚至病毒。

  • You can think of the BioXp as a DVD player,

    可以把 BioXp 想成是 一台 DVD 播放機,

  • requiring a physical DVD to be inserted,

    需要放入實體的 DVD,

  • whereas the DBC is Netflix.

    而 DBC 就是網飛。

  • To build the DBC,

    為了打造 DBC,

  • my team of scientists worked with software and instrumentation engineers

    我的科學家團隊和 軟體及儀表工程師合作,

  • to collapse multiple laboratory workflows,


  • all in a single box.


  • This included software algorithms to predict what DNA to build,

    這內容包括了用來預測要建造 哪種 DNA 的軟體演算法、

  • chemistry to link the G, A, T and C building blocks of DNA into short pieces,

    將 DNA 的 G、A、T 及 C 積木 連結起來變成短 DNA 的化學、

  • Gibson Assembly to stitch together those short pieces into much longer ones,

    將這些短 DNA 組合成 更長的 DNA 的吉布森組合,

  • and biology to convert the DNA into other biological entities,

    及將 DNA 轉換成其他生物實體 (如蛋白質)的生物學。

  • such as proteins.


  • This is the prototype.


  • Although it wasn't pretty, it was effective.


  • It made therapeutic drugs and vaccines.

    以前要花數個星期 甚至數個月的實驗室工作流程,

  • And laboratory workflows that once took weeks or months


  • could now be carried out in just one to two days.


  • And that's all without any human intervention


  • and simply activated by the receipt of an email


  • which could be sent from anywhere in the world.

    我們會把 DBC 比喻成傳真機。

  • We like to compare the DBC to fax machines.


  • But whereas fax machines received images and documents,

    而 DBC 接收的是生物材料。

  • the DBC receives biological materials.


  • Now, consider how fax machines have evolved.


  • The prototype of the 1840s is unrecognizable,

    1840 年代的原型機大家都不認得了。

  • compared with the fax machines of today.

    八○年代,大部分的人 仍然不知道傳真機是什麼,

  • In the 1980s, most people still didn't know what a fax machine was,


  • and if they did,


  • it was difficult for them to grasp the concept

    無法想像如何能從世界的另一端 立即重新製造出一張影像。

  • of instantly reproducing an image on the other side of the world.

    但現今,傳真機所有的功能 都被整合到我們的智慧手機中,

  • But nowadays, everything that a fax machine does

    我們還視快速交換 數位資訊為理所當然。

  • is integrated on our smart phones,

    現在我們的 DBC 是這樣的。

  • and of course, we take this rapid exchange of digital information for granted.

    我們想像 DBC 和傳真機 用類似的方式演化。

  • Here's what our DBC looks like today.

    我們正在努力 把這台儀器的尺寸縮減,

  • We imagine the DBC evolving in similar ways as fax machines have.


  • We're working to reduce the size of the instrument,


  • and we're working to make the underlying technology

    在合成 DNA 時, 精確性是極度重要的,

  • more reliable, cheaper, faster and more accurate.

    因為只要有一個 DNA 字母不一樣,

  • Accuracy is extremely important when synthesizing DNA,


  • because a single change to a DNA letter


  • could mean the difference between a medicine working or not

    若要針對從 DNA 開始的藥品 進行分散製造,

  • or synthetic cell being alive or dead.

    DBC 是很有用的。

  • The DBC will be useful for the distributed manufacturing

    世界上的每一間醫院 都能用一台 DBC

  • of medicine starting from DNA.

    直接在病人的病床邊為他們 列印出個人化的藥品。

  • Every hospital in the world could use a DBC

    我甚至可以想像有一天, 人類的日常會變成是

  • for printing personalized medicines for a patient at their bedside.

    每個人的家中電腦或智慧手機 都和一台 DBC 連結在一起,

  • I can even imagine a day when it's routine for people to have a DBC


  • to connect to their home computer or smart phone


  • as a means to download their prescriptions,

    DBC 還有一個很大的價值, 就是放在世界各地的戰略地區,

  • such as insulin or antibody therapies.


  • The DBC will also be valuable when placed in strategic areas around the world,

    比如,喬治亞州 亞特蘭大的疾病防治中心