Human Sperm Swims in More Peculiar Ways than Scientists Knew Before

Humans’ wonderful feature of reproducing themselves had always been puzzling scientists. The process of building another human being with characteristics from both his parents is beyond comprehension, and scientists will unveil all of the mysteries one day. But they have to do it slowly, step by step. One interesting step has just been made, and it has great potential of opening the path for other discoveries as well.

It seems like scientists had a wrong view before about how sperm is moving inside the woman. Instead of wiggling towards the egg, those ambitious little swimmers are rolling around until they meet the destination.

3D microscopy for reconstructing the sperm movement

The new revelation belongs to scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico and the University of Bristol, who managed to reconstruct the movement of a sperm tail by using three-dimensional microscopy.

Hermes Gadelha, from the University of Bristol’s Polymaths Laboratory and also one of the lead scientists of the new study, explains what caused so many scientists to have a false idea about how sperm behaves. He says that the culprit was an optical illusion that occurs when sperm is observed from above and using a two-dimensional microscope.

Gadelha added:

“Human sperm figured out if they roll as they swim, much like playful otters corkscrewing through water, their one-sided stoke would average itself out, and they would swim forwards,”

He also called this method of movement as “a swimming technique to compensate for their lop-sidedness.”

This obviously requires intelligence, and figuring out the source for it could be the next big challenge in science. Alberto Darszon from the National Autonomous University of Mexico believes that the discovery will revolutionize the understanding of sperm motility and how it impacts natural fertilization.

The new research was published recently in the journal Science Advances here: