Stories tagged human

Folks, this is exciting news! Reproductive biologists think they've found the secret that makes sperm move - specifically, how this male reproductive cell knows when to begin swimming toward the female egg. For those of you who slept through biology class or had teachers that couldn't divulge the gritty details, let's just say that sexual reproduction is a lot more complicated than most of us realize (hint: it doesn't involve a stork, unless you happen to be a stork). Thankfully, some researchers at the University of California have found a way to study the inner workings of human sperm cells, discovering how differences in pH between male and female bodies triggers a chain reaction that gets sperm going. Why does this matter? By understanding how male reproductive cells work, scientists might be able to better address problems of infertility, or design new forms of contraception. While the researchers involved in this study admit that a male birth control pill probably isn't going to appear anytime soon, this discovery does point to new possibilities.

What makes humans unique? Do we have characteristics that make us different from other animals? PBS will be broadcasting a three-part series on the topic this fall. In advance of the series premiere, the producers want you to tell them why humans are special. You can submit a photo, a video, or text. Some entries will appear on screen, so make a grab for your 15 seconds of fame, and send in your ideas.

American universities (including University of California, San Francisco) are trying to create stem cell lines using cloned human embryos. (This is what South Korean researchers claimed to have done in 2004 and 2005; the lab later admitted that they'd fabricated their research.) Check the NPR story on who's in the business, how they're paying for it, and what the ethical issues are.