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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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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.
See more ScienceShots.