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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Diamonds Are a Sperm's Best Friend
8 February 2013 2:25 pm
Sperm may be strong swimmers in their, um, "natural habitat," but they become notoriously sluggish when you ask them to do their thing in a petri dish. "Poor sperm performance" is a common problem in in vitro fertilization (IVF), but new research suggests that it might not be all the little guys' fault. It turns out that when your standard polystyrene petri dish gets wet, its surface softens into a toxic goo that might be damaging cells. Coat a quartz petri dish with a nanolayer of diamond, however, and you've created a cellular safe haven. A much higher percentage of sperm survived for 42 hours in diamond-coated petri dishes like the ones pictured above than in the polystyrene containers usually used for IVF, researchers report in the Online Proceedings Library of the Materials Research Society. Because the sperm cells used in IVF often need all the help they can get, switching to the diamond petri dishes could give them just the boost they need to fulfill their destiny—thus potentially ramping up the notoriously low success rate of IVF.
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