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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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ScienceShot: Why Sperm Swim in Circles
11 May 2010 7:01 pm
Perhaps it's no surprise that sperm often swim in circles. They must rely on a tail smaller than the width of a human hair to conquer an obstacle course with 200-million-to-one odds. Until now, scientists blamed sperms' circular locomotion on their erratic, asymmetric tail propulsion. But where they swim might be more important than how they swim, according to a study published online tomorrow in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Researchers simulated sperm cell migration and found that if the surrounding fluids (such as semen or vaginal secretions) are viscous enough, the sperm tails will buckle in the current, trapping the cells into a circular loop they can't escape even if the cells swim perfectly. Knowing how to trap sperm in the right places could improve the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization and other reproductive technologies, experts say.
See more ScienceShots.