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Science

CHORDS OF THE SPERMATOZOA

Berlin / A team of scientists from several German research institutes have discovered how human spermatozoa navigate, which is compared to a string instrument in which the tail moves like a wave containing two different frequencies or “notes”.

Scientists from the European Center for Advanced Studies and Research (CAESAR) in Bonn, associated with the Max Planck Society and the Jülich Research Center, have participated in the work, published in Nature Communications.

The Spanish Luis Alvarez, leader of the group in biophysics of cellular mobility in the Department of molecular sensory systems from CAESAR, told EFE that a clinical application of this discovery is not planned, although it could serve in the future for diagnostic tests.

To decipher the movement of objects of microscopic span, known as micro-browsers, interested both engineers dedicated to the design of micro-robots, as scientists focused on biological organisms such as sperm cell, explains the team in a statement.

His study shows that the tail of the sperm cell is both a propeller, an antenna that captures sensory information and a rudder blade that serves to adjust the course based on the recorded information.

The spermatozoa advance in a tailspin, in such a way that they generate a wave, they explain.

When this wave of the head is propagated from the head to the tail, the surrounding liquid is pushed back and the sperm forward; to turn, the tail moves asymmetrically or sideways, like a rudder blade.

The study shows that the sperm uses a surprising mechanism to move the tail asymmetrically: there are two waves that travel through the tail at the same time, one with a fundamental frequency and the other with twice this frequency.

Its superposition translates into a wave with a modulated amplitude in time; the swing of the tail presents a wider amplitude when it moves in one direction than in the other, which translates into a sperm rotation.

“In musical terms, you could say that the sperm cell plays notes of two different octaves,” he said in the statement.

The investigation also showed that when the sperm cell perceives the female hormone progesterone, the frequency, amplitude and phase of the two waves are adjusted and, consequently, the spermatozoon modifies the trajectory.

“Like a tuned instrument, the sperm plays chords that are orchestrated by the chemical signals it finds in its path,” he concludes. (November 13, 2017, EFE/Practica Español)

News related in video (April 16, 2010):


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Question 1
Según el texto, ese estudio trata...
A
de la finalidad que tienen los espermatozoides.
B
solo de cómo son los espermatozoides.
C
del movimiento de los espermatozoides.
Question 2
En la noticia se dice que…
A
se desconoce si los espermatozoides generan cualquier tipo de onda al desplazarse.
B
los espermatozoides se desplazan como si se tocaran unas determinadas notas musicales.
C
no hay ningún tipo de semejanza entre la música y el movimiento de los espermatozoides.
Question 3
Según el texto…
A
los científicos aún no van a aplicar lo que han descubierto.
B
los científicos van a aplicar de inmediato lo que han descubierto.
C
ya se está aplicando en las clínicas lo que han descubierto los científicos.
Question 4
En la noticia se dice que la cola del espermatozoide…
A
solo vale para desplazarse.
B
no solo sirve para desplazarse sino también para recoger información.
C
no sirve para nada.
Question 5
La cola del espermatozoide se mueve de forma uniforme.
A
Es verdad.
B
¡No se sabe!
C
No es verdad.
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