Sperm In Engineering

2 comments December 28th, 2007at 09:16pm Posted by Eli

Who knew sperm were so useful? I mean for… other things:

Scientists have taken the first steps in reproducing the biological engine that powers a sperm’s tail and modified it for use in nano-sized devices.

The tiny biological machine is something like a car engine that uses fuel to generate motion.

Only this machine — composed of 10 carefully arranged enzymes — runs on natural sugars, using them to produce an high-energy molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP for short.

In the case of sperm, ATP energizes the tail. But it could also be used in nanorobots that do everything from activate drug-delivery pumps to manufacture missing enzymes necessary for healthy bodily functions.

“We’re taking what sperm have already figured out how to do and using it for a nanotechnology application,” said Alex Travis, assistant professor of reproductive biology at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, NY.

(…)

So far, they have attached three of the 10 enzymes — two that are next to each other and one from the middle of the sequence. When attached, the enzymes activate and perform their normal function. If the scientists can get all 10 enzymes to work in sequence, they’ll have their biological engine. Blood glucose naturally present in the body would be used as fuel.

Of course, the nightmare scenario would be if a whole bunch of these little machines were combined into an unstoppable futuristic killer robot, sent back in time by the machines to destroy the leader of the human rebellion. It would be called… well, I think you know what it’d be called.

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science,Technology,Weirdness

2 Comments

  • 1. virgotex  |  December 28th, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    f the scientists can get all 10 enzymes to work in sequence, they’ll have their biological engine

    Row, ye’ bastards! Row!

  • 2. Ruth  |  December 29th, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Can little spermmaids spearfishing for viruses be far behind?


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