Researchers have captured a stunning explosion of zinc fireworks that occurs when a human egg meets sperm. This is the first time zinc sparks have been seen in a human egg and the size of the sparks is a direct measure of the quality of the egg and its ability to develop into an embryo
As the zinc is released from the egg, it binds to small molecule probes, which emit light in fluorescence microscopy experiments.
Thus the rapid zinc release can be followed as a flash of light that appears as a spark.
'These fluorescence microscopy studies establish that the zinc spark occurs in human egg biology, and that can be observed outside of the cell,' said Tom O'Halloran, a co-senior author.