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大千世界: 蠕虫被送往外太空

时间:2010-01-21 03:25来源:互联网 提供网友:曾轶可   字体: [ ]
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Worms seem like strange animals to send to the International Space Station. It's not like astronauts are going to take time off to go fishing and need to bait their hooks. So why send worms? Believe it or not, scientists are using a microscopic1 worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, to study the effects of weightlessness on muscle mass. We have known for decades that long space flights lead to muscle atrophy2, or wasting. Scientists have suspected this is due to differences in hormone3 and steroid blood levels as well as a decrease in exercise that affects muscle fibers4 directly. Astronauts exercise, but can still lose up to 60% of their muscle mass during a mission. So scientists are looking for genes5 controlling muscle building to see if they can figure out a way to keep muscles intact in zero gravity. That is where C. elegans comes in. These worms that normally live in soil and compost suffer from muscle atrophy under many of the same conditions that people do. Not only that, they are easy to transport, reproduce quickly and have a small genome that's already been sequenced. Since the worms share many genes with humans, scientists hope to discover which genes can help prevent muscle fibers from being degraded and lost. A shuttle mission scheduled for October 2009 will be the fourth time worms have traveled to space. They will spend two weeks in the Japanese Kibo laboratory before they return to earth. Scientists are hopeful that this trip will reveal the secrets of controlling muscle atrophy. If it does, the knowledge will not only help astronauts, it will be able to help patients on earth who are bedridden or immobilized.

atrophy: 畏缩

reproduce: 繁殖,生殖
Animals can reproduce their own kind.
动物能够繁殖同类。

Genome: 基因组,染色体组

Reveal
1. 展现,显露出
Little by little he revealed his ambitions.
渐渐地,他暴露出他的野心。
2. 揭示,揭露;暴露;泄露[(+to/as)][+that][O2][O8]
He revealed the secret by accident.
他不小心泄漏了这个秘密。
Further investigation6 revealed that he was guilty.
进一步侦查表明他是有罪的。

Bedridden: 卧床不起的
 


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1 microscopic nDrxq     
adj.微小的,细微的,极小的,显微的
参考例句:
  • It's impossible to read his microscopic handwriting.不可能看清他那极小的书写字迹。
  • A plant's lungs are the microscopic pores in its leaves.植物的肺就是其叶片上微细的气孔。
2 atrophy 3eWyU     
n./v.萎缩,虚脱,衰退
参考例句:
  • Patients exercised their atrophied limbs in the swimming pool.病人们在泳池里锻炼萎缩的四肢。
  • Many hoped he would renew the country's atrophied political system.很多人都期望他能使该国萎靡的政治体系振作起来。
3 hormone uyky3     
n.荷尔蒙,激素,内分泌
参考例句:
  • Hormone implants are used as growth boosters.激素植入物被用作生长辅助剂。
  • This hormone interacts closely with other hormones in the body.这种荷尔蒙与体內其他荷尔蒙紧密地相互作用。
4 fibers 421d63991f1d1fc8826d6e71d5e15f53     
光纤( fiber的名词复数 ); (织物的)质地; 纤维,纤维物质
参考例句:
  • Thesolution of collagen-PVA was wet spined with the sodium sulfate as coagulant and collagen-PVA composite fibers were prepared. 在此基础上,以硫酸钠为凝固剂,对胶原-PVA共混溶液进行湿法纺丝,制备了胶原-PVA复合纤维。
  • Sympathetic fibers are distributed to all regions of the heart. 交感神经纤维分布于心脏的所有部分。
5 genes 01914f8eac35d7e14afa065217edd8c0     
n.基因( gene的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • You have good genes from your parents, so you should live a long time. 你从父母那儿获得优良的基因,所以能够活得很长。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Differences will help to reveal the functions of the genes. 它们间的差异将会帮助我们揭开基因多种功能。 来自英汉非文学 - 生命科学 - 生物技术的世纪
6 investigation MRKzq     
n.调查,调查研究
参考例句:
  • In an investigation,a new fact became known, which told against him.在调查中新发现了一件对他不利的事实。
  • He drew the conclusion by building on his own investigation.他根据自己的调查研究作出结论。
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