Newly developed holograms may help end scourge of malaria
Washington: Researchers have developed digital holograms of malaria sperm which has given them fresh insights into the behaviour of these tiny life forms.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and the Rowland Institute at Harvard University were able to see that malaria sperm move in an irregular, lopsided corkscrew motion, which enables them to twist to the left or the right, as well as go forwards and backwards.
This motion is thought to help the sperm swim between red blood cells to find female mates.
Malaria sperm use microscopic structures, known as flagella, to swim.
These structures are important because they are used by many parasites to invade parts of the body. They also perform essential roles in embryonic development, reproduction, and nutrient uptake in all animals.
Scientists said that the simple structure of the malaria sperm makes it an excellent model system in which to study flagella in animals.
Dr Sarah Reece, Royal Society Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and one of the authors of the study, said that findings gained using their unique system provided them with a better understanding of how malaria parasites mate and spread this deadly disease, and have revealed that malaria sperm, and similar organisms, have greater freedom of movement than was previously thought.