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Sperm Recognize "Brothers," Team Up for Speed

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posted on Apr, 24 2010 @ 04:42 PM
April 21, 2010

Red and green glowing sperm revealed "amazing" behavior in mice..

Dyed to glow green in UV light, oldfield mouse sperm cells gather together.

In promiscuous mouse species, sperm team up with their closest kin to give themselves an edge in the dash for the egg, a new study finds.

Once inside a female, sperm cells can discern and—via structures on their heads—literally hook up with their brethren amid the crush of sperm from other males. (Related: "How a Man Produces 1,500 Sperm a Second.")

The cells can then draft, Lance Armstrong-style, moving faster than they could alone thanks to more "engine" power from the cluster, said study co-author Heidi Fisher, an evolutionary geneticist at Harvard University's Hoekstra Laboratory.

"It's really amazing that this single cell can do this," Fisher said. "We used to think of sperm as packs of DNA with really fast tails. But [now we know] they're able to make these complex organizations."

Surprisingly, the sperm cells' recognition skills are "incredibly refined," Fisher added: In the experiments, sperm could pick out other sperm from the same male, even when the other sperm were from closely related mice.

Those little suckers are in major competition with other, assume the same happens with human sperm, my question is when an egg is fertilized does it make a difference which sperm in the development of the fetus.

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