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万物简史(MP3+中英字幕) 第441期:小生物的世界(12)

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In the early days, this was an exceedingly painstaking process. Work on a single bacterium could easily consume a year. At that time, according to Woese, only about 500 species of bacteria were known, which is fewer than the number of species you have in your mouth. Today the number is about ten times that, though that is still far short of the 26,900 species of algae, 70,000 of fungi, and 30,800 of amoebas and related organisms whose biographies fill the annals of biology.

早年,这是个极费力气的过程。研究一个细菌就可能一下子花掉一年时间。据沃斯说,那个时候,已知的细菌只有大约500种。这比你嘴巴里的细菌种类还要少。今天,这个数字大约是那个数字的10倍,虽然还远远比不上26900种海藻、70000种真菌和30800种变形虫,以及相关的微生物。生物学的编年史上都记载着它们的故事。
bacteria

It isn't simple indifference that keeps the total low. Bacteria can be exasperatingly difficult to isolate and study. Only about 1 percent will grow in culture. Considering how wildly adaptable they are in nature, it is an odd fact that the one place they seem not to wish to live is a petri dish. Plop them on a bed of agar and pamper them as you will, and most will just lie there, declining every inducement to bloom. Any bacterium that thrives in a lab is by definition exceptional, and yet these were, almost exclusively, the organisms studied by microbiologists. It was, said Woese, "like learning about animals from visiting zoos."

细菌总数量那么少,并不完全是因为人们对它们不重视。细菌的分离和研究工作有可能极其困难的,只有大约1%能通过培养繁殖。考虑到它们在自然环境里强大的适应能力,有个地方它们似乎不愿意去生活,这是很怪的,那就是在皮氏培养皿里。要是你把细菌扔在琼脂培养基上,无论你怎么爱抚它们,其中大多数就躺在那里,怎么也不肯繁殖。任何在实验室里繁殖的细菌都只能说是个例外,而这一些几乎全都是微生物学家们研究的对象。沃斯说,这就“好像是一面在参观动物园,一面在了解动物”。
Genes, however, allowed Woese to approach microorganisms from another angle. As he worked, Woese realized that there were more fundamental divisions in the microbial world than anyone suspected.
然而,由于基因的发现,沃斯可以从另一角度去研究微生物。他在研究过程中意识到,微生物世界可以划分成更多的基本部分,

重点单词   查看全部解释    
isolate ['aisəleit]

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vt. 隔离,使孤立
adj. 孤立的,单独的

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definition [.defi'niʃən]

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n. 定义,阐释,清晰度

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exclusively [iks'klu:sivli]

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adv. 排他地(独占地,专门地,仅仅,只)

 
annals ['ænəlz]

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n. 纪年表,年鉴,年报 名词annal的名词形式

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species ['spi:ʃiz]

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n. (单复同)物种,种类

 
bacteria [bæk'tiəriə]

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n. (复数)细菌

 
bacterium [bæk'tiəriəm]

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n. 细菌

 
painstaking ['peinz.teikiŋ]

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adj. 辛苦的,勤勉的 n. 辛苦,苦心,工夫

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consume [kən'sju:m]

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v. 消耗,花费,挥霍

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approach [ə'prəutʃ]

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n. 接近; 途径,方法
v. 靠近,接近,动

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