Stunning zinc fireworks when egg meets sperm

15 diciembre 2014

Sparks literally fly when a sperm and an egg hit it off. The fertilized mammalian egg releases from its surface billions of zinc atoms in ‘zinc sparks,’ one wave after another, scientists have found. Using cutting-edge technology they developed, the researchers are the first to capture images of these molecular fireworks and pinpoint the zinc sparks’ origin: tiny zinc-rich packages just below the egg’s surface. The findings should be useful in improving in vitro fertilization methods.