Coloured SEM of sperm penetrating corona of egg

Coloured SEM of sperm penetrating corona of egg

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This image is part of the feature First Week Of Life

Credit: DR YORGOS NIKAS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Egg fertilisation. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of sperm penetrating the layers around a human egg during fertilisation. Each sperm (green) has a head and a long tail. Here, many sperm are penetrating cells of the corona radiata (brown), an outer layer of cells which surrounds the healthy egg. Beneath the corona radiata is the zona pellucida (pink), a thick inner spongy layer around the egg. The egg itself is not seen here. The sperm must pass through both of these layers before they can reach the egg. Only one sperm can penetrate the egg, after which the egg begins to divide into an embryo. Magnification: x780 at 5x7cm size. x3,000 at 8x10".

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Keywords: anatomy, corona radiata, egg, fertilisation, fertilization, human, human body, in human fertilisation, ovum, penetration, reproduction, sperm, sperm penetrat, zona pellucida

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