STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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 (red 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 (green) 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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