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Sperm–often considered the most diverse cell type known–present unique challenges for modeling frameworks. Responsible for fertilizing the egg, sperm are not only necessary for sexual reproduction, but also increasingly important to study given rising rates of infertility. In this review, we summarize aspects of sperm motility and interactions, which make it unique in comparison to other cells. The journey of a sperm involves swimming in different fluid environments, where emergent trajectories and waveforms are coupled to the fluid properties such as viscosity, the mechanics of the flagellum, as well as the relevant biochemistry. We emphasize that there is a range of modeling frameworks, each of which can bring an understanding to fundamental aspects of sperm motility, such as how a particular fluid or interaction with another swimmer can alter swimming speeds and trajectories. In order to study the emergent flagellar waveforms of sperm and compare to experiments, it is important to have accurate models of the relevant surfaces and interactions to capture the correct and relevant hydrodynamics. We discuss current challenges and describe aspects of sperm motility that models can elucidate in the future, ultimately to help solve the puzzle of how the sperm is able to reach and fertilize the egg.
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- Sperm Motility: Models for Dynamic Behavior in Complex Environments
Julie E. Simons
Sarah D. Olson
in-adhesives, MKVS, Hellmich GmbH/© Hellmich GmbH, Zühlke/© Zühlke