Hinsch, Gertrude W. Department of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
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The male gamete. The typical sperm of most animals has a head containing the nucleus and acrosome, a middle piece with the mitochondria, and a tail with the 9 + 2 microtubule pattern (Fig. 1). Sperm, as well as the acrosome shape, varies with the species (Fig. 2). The nucleus consists of condensed chromatin (deoxyribonucleic acid, DNA) and histone proteins. The acrosome, which is derived from the Golgi complex, contains hydrolytic enzymes, that is, hyaluronidase capable of lysing the egg coats at fertilization. Actin molecules which aid in the interaction between sperm and egg are found in the area between the acrosome and nucleus. The mitochondria in the middle piece apparently provide the energy necessary for the motility created by the tail. The tail has a central core, or axial filament, made up of nine double tubules and two central tubules. See also: Cilia and flagella
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