Sperm are remarkable cells with the function of delivering genes from the father to the egg at fertilization. At CHR we tend to focus on the role of the egg in the formation of an embryo, but as they say, it takes two to tango. Though the ingredients invested in the egg cell make up most of what will become an embryo, new research is telling us now that the sperm carries much more into the making of an embryo than just the dad’s genes.
This month’s image from the CHR’s imaging center depicts the two most important structures making up human sperm: In red is the nucleus within the sperm head which contains a full set of 23 chromosomes from the male. Sperm will carry either a Y or an X chromosome, which will determine whether the embryo is male or female. The bright green lines correspond to the tail of the sperm cell that contains a microscopic machine known as the axoneme, which is what powers sperm as they swim up through the female reproductive tract.
This is a part of February 2016 issue of the VOICE. Read this issue in PDF.