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Looks Can Be Deceiving.

More than meets the eye, runner-up

The highlighted structures may first resemble floating lotus leaves and flowers, but they are actually single cells in a Petri dish. This scanning electron microscopy image shows cultured gonocytes, a population of male germline stem cells found in the newborn testis, which after maturity can ultimately give rise to sperm cells. Like lotuses, gonocytes “float” on top of their feeder cells and develop cytoplasmic extensions to reach out to other cells and move around in this in vitro “pond” (microenvironment). In certain ancient cultures and beliefs, lotuses symbolize fecundity and fertility. What a similarity! Our research can provide valuable insights into the role of gonocytes in male fertility and the potential effect of environmental pollutants on future infertility.

Funders: NSERC

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