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    Jon
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    Nanobot for performing artificial insemination - GIF and video

    This nanobot (really a microhelix) is controlled by an external human-manipulated magnetic field. It wraps itself around a sperm, and chauffeurs the sperm to the egg. It's an interesting method of locomotion, and I guess it could be useful for people having trouble reproducing.



    I'm not a reproductive biologist, or an evolutionary biologist, or really anyone who can comment expertly on this research. Nevertheless, a cursory look raises a concern: this seems to represent the apex of the controversial concept of "helping" those who perform poorly in fair natural contests. Like most anyone, I believe strongly in assisting those who are genuinely disabled, but some contests in life, especially the very first one, should perhaps proceed unaided.

    Seems like you could destroy civilization in a generation or two with something like this.

    Quick video from the American Chemical Society, which publishes Nano Letters, the journal in which the study first appeared:



    And here's the abstract:

    We present artificially motorized sperm cells—a novel type of hybrid micromotor, where customized microhelices serve as motors for transporting sperm cells with motion deficiencies to help them carry out their natural function. Our results indicate that metal-coated polymer microhelices are suitable for this task due to potent, controllable, and nonharmful 3D motion behavior. We manage to capture, transport, and release single immotile live sperm cells in fluidic channels that allow mimicking physiological conditions. Important steps toward fertilization are addressed by employing proper means of sperm selection and oocyte culturing. Despite the fact that there still remain some challenges on the way to achieve successful fertilization with artificially motorized sperms, we believe that the potential of this novel approach toward assisted reproduction can be already put into perspective with the present work.

    Full study: http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/...nolett.5b04221


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