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More than 300 years after of the Dutch Antonie van Leeuwenhoek use one of the first microscopes and describe the movements of human sperm as if it had a “tail, when swimming, it moves like a snake or eel in the water.” A computer scientist has revealed now that it is in fact an optical illusion, informs SINC.

by Using the microscopy and 3D mathematics more advanced Hermes Gadelha of the University of Bristol (Uk), next to Gabriel Corkidi and Alberto Darszon of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, have been pioneers in the reconstruction of the real movement of the sperm tail, reminiscent of the corkscrew.

researchers have used a high-speed camera capable of recording more than 55.000 frames in a second , and a mechanical stage microscope with a piezoelectric sensor to move the sample up and down at a speed incredibly high. In this way, they were able to scan in 3D at the sperm to swim freely.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, reveals that her tail is actually crooked and only move it from one side. While this should mean that the unilateral move would swim in circles, the sperm have found a smart way to adapt and swim forward.

To be seen with the microscopes of two dimensions, the rapid and synchronized movement, the optical illusion that the tail relax seeing from side to side symmetrically. But it turns out that your flutter is asymmetric: it happens on one side only . It is like paddling a canoe with only one oar, and that produces a circular motion, say the authors.

to Create symmetry from asymmetry

to compensate For this imbalance, the sperm have developed a technique with which you move, and do so in a ringlet fashion. According to Gadelha, “have solved a puzzle mathematical the microscopic scale, creating symmetry from asymmetry”.

however, he says the co-author, your money is complex. “The sperm head rotates at the same time as the queue in the direction of swimming. This is known in physics as precession, similar to when the orbits of the Earth and Mars revolve around the Sun”. is

The systems of semen analysis, assisted by computer, which is now in use, both in clinics and in research, still use microscopes in 2D to see the movement of the sperm.

therefore, as the first microscope of Leeuwenhoek, are still prone to this illusion of symmetry while evaluating the quality of semen. This discovery, with its innovative use of the technology of the microscope 3D combined with mathematics, can provide a new hope to unlock the secrets of human reproduction.

“Given that more than half of infertility is due to male factors, to better understand their movement could be used to develop new diagnostic tools “, the researchers conclude.

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