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Differentiation. 1984;27(2):120-5.

Swimming behavior of X and Y human sperm.


A laminar-flow fractionation method, developed primarily for removing dead sperm from human semen, was successfully modified to enrich X and Y sperm to 80% purity, and to characterize each enriched fraction for individual swimming behavior. Y-sperm fractions were rapidly detected by fluorescent cytogenetic staining. Subsequently, the degree of enrichment was quantitated with DNA extracted from each sperm fraction probed with a human male-specific recombinant DNA clone. In stationary fluid, X and Y sperm swam in circles with the same average speed. However, in a flowstream, X sperm shifted to a nearly straight path of movement in a significantly decreased angular velocity. This shift was four times more pronounced in X sperm than in Y sperm, especially after the initial transition from stationary fluid to flow. The velocity gradient across the flow axis was essential for separating X and Y sperm; uniform flow velocity did not separate them effectively.

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