British scientists claim they have uncovered for the first time the complex workings of the male reproductive cell.
Scientists at the University of Bath have identified in a new study hundreds of proteins that constitute the head and tail of the sperm, which is the smallest cell in a man's body -- so small that about 500 million of them can fit into a teaspoon, The Independent newspaper reported Monday.
The study was carried out on the sperm of fruit fly but the scientists believe that about half of the 381 proteins they have now identified also exist in the human sperm cell.
"This is the first catalogue of sperm proteins for any organism, and it offers a tantalizing glimpse into how we might begin to answer some of the most fundamental questions in biology," Tim Kerr, a biologist at the university, was quoted as saying.
The scientists plan to unlock the protein recipes of the sperm of different species including human.
Until now, scientists have only known about a handful of proteins that are part of the assemblage of biological molecules, which make up a sperm cell.