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Sperm tails, TEM

Sperm tails, TEM

C014/1464

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Credit

STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Sperm tails. Transmission electron micrograph (TEM) of sections through the tails of sperm (spermatozoa) cells at various levels. A sperm's tail's ability to move is partly due to the arrangement of microtubules (green central dots) within the tail. The microtubules are arranged in a central axoneme with two central single microtubules and nine peripheral double microtubules. Surrounding the microtubules are dense fibres, which provide rigidity and protection to the tail. Next is a layer of mitochondria (blue) which provide the energy for movement. Finally the tail is wrapped in a protective outer sheath. Magnification: x45,000 when printed 10 centimetres wide.

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