Home GADGETS A major study on how sperm movement was withdrawn

A major study on how sperm movement was withdrawn

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Illustration of sperm surrounding the egg.

image: Know almost

A study shows Claim to overturn Our understanding of how sperm move has now been retracted. Studies have shown that sperm cells propel themselves forward through complex rotations. This rotation creates an optical illusion that they just swing their tails back and forth under the microscope. The authors now agree that their conclusion cannot be supported by the data they have collected so far.

In late July 2020, a mathematician Hermes Gadelha and his team from the University of Bristol, UK Publish Their research in “Science Progress”. Their work includes collaboration with Mexican researchers, including taking high-frame-rate photos of sperm as they move in a fluid, low-friction environment. Based on these images, they created a 3D model of how these cells might move.

Based on their model, the team believes that our current idea of ​​sperm movement—the swinging of the sperm tail that you can see under the most primitive microscope—is wrong. Instead, they speculated that the sperm would rotate their tails asymmetrically in one direction while also rotating their heads at the same time. They added that in a two-dimensional plane, this movement looks like our classic tail flick associated with sperm. Gadelha told Gizmodo at the time that this complicated procedure may be similar to the movement of an otter in the water with a corkscrew.

However, even at the time, an external expert on sperm motility told Gizmodo that he did not fully believe in the team’s work, and at least some of their conclusions may be too “strongly worded”-now it seems that a warning has been raised. .

August 1, 2020, Journal release After Gadelha’s team suggested that other scientists were critical of the team’s mathematical analysis, they expressed their concerns about the paper. The magazine promised that in light of these concerns, the authors will re-evaluate their data and report.In early May of this year, the magazine agree After the authors admitted that their data alone could not prove their central premise was reasonable, the study was completely withdrawn.

Gizmodo got in touch with Gadelha about this development.A spokesperson from the University of Bristol responded, leading us to the withdrawal instructions and Update At universityYes it is website. “After publication, readers found that although our 3D flagella experimental data and analysis are reasonable, only using 3D flagella waveform data cannot clearly draw conclusions about flagella asymmetry and anisotropy,” the author wrote In their withdraw.

withdraw It is an unusual but routine part of science.Sometimes they occur Due to outright fraud or negligent research practices.But they It may also be due to unintentional errors in collecting or interpreting the data and not being discovered in time. This reality is one of the reasons why replication is so important to the scientific process, because it is more difficult (but not impossible) for multiple groups of scientists to obtain the same flawed results.

In this case, the findings of Gadelha and his team are not necessarily completely wrong.Other studies have Suggest At least sometimes the sperm does seem to be spinning as it moves. And sperm movement is probably more complicated than the eel-like movement you see in the movie. Gadha Team,according to University of Bristol, Planning for the near future Publish updated papers “Write a complete story.” Many other scientists are continuing to study the function and movement of these cells, so this may not be the death knell of spiral sperm.

But this legend should remind readers and reporters that no research should be considered the final conclusion of something—especially if the research makes a very bold or peculiar statement about how the world works.

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