A team of French scientists has carried out studies in mice to understand how the sperm fuses with the egg at the moment of fertilisation. Christine Gourier, who led the investigation, explained: “Two to three minutes elapse between contact and fusion, but very little focus has been placed on this up until now – mainly been due to technical difficulties”. This is a “complex moment because it is not enough to place a fertile sperm in contact with a fertile egg for fusion to take place”.
With the assistance of a team of physicists from the Ecole normale supérieure de Paris (ENS/CNRS) and contrary to expectations, they found that “the movements in the tail of the sperm – the flagellum – play a crucial role”. Contrary to what the scientists believed, the movement of the flagellum “not only leads the sperm to the egg, but also triggers fertilisation” provided that it moves in a specific way.
These studies, published in the Nature journal,“shed more light on the beginnings of life”.
Le Figaro, Damien Mascret (29/08/2016)