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baby you’re a firework

We live in Serbia, a place where everything, even remotely worth celebrating, is followed by an eventful and pretty loud conundrum.

Guns, booze, trumpets, fireworks, Freddie Mercury type of saturnalia, boy, everything goes.

And, that’s okay. Let there be light.

Light is very often used as a pure metaphor for life — but life and light aren’t just linked romantically. When sperm meets an egg, as we recently discovered there is a real flash of light. So in a way, life and light are one and the same.

Here’s the discovery timeline:

Researchers at Northwestern University first made the discovery in 2011 when they saw, what they call — zinc sparks — at the point of conception in mice.

In 2014, they figured out a way to capture images of the event taking place.

And in 2017, they achieved the holy grail of biological research: the team observed the same thing occurring in human egg cells.

How does this happen, in the first place?

Chemistry, again.

Egg cells rely on zinc for their most vital functions, from maturing into a healthy egg to developing into an embryo. The 2014 research showed that each human egg cell comprises around astonishing 8,000 zinc compartments, each of which contains a million zinc atoms.

When sperm meets an egg — although, as the human experiments demonstrated, all you really need is a sperm enzyme — the egg releases a flurry of zinc atoms all at once.

And then — the show baby.

Under the researcher’s fluorescent sensor, it looks like microscopic fireworks all over the place, aka around the embryo.

Tiny explosion after tiny explosion.

And the whole spectacle lasts for up to two hours after conception!

So, basically, every time the egg is fertilized, and a human is conceived, your body celebrates. It literally celebrates your life forming <3

But hold on — This isn’t just cool, it happens to be incredibly useful.

Well, here’s the thing, the size of these explosions tells scientists a lot about the viability of the embryo the egg will produce.

For people going through the costly and emotional ordeal of in vitro fertilization, that’s *huge* news, since at the moment less than half of IVF treatments result in a live birth.

There are no tools currently available that tell us if it’s a good quality egg.

Often, we don’t have the info whether the egg or embryo is truly viable until we see if a pregnancy happens.

That’s the reason this is so so so transformative.

If we have the ability up front to see what is a good egg and what’s not, it will help scientists know which embryo to transfer, avoid a lot of heartaches and achieve pregnancy much more quickly.

If that doesn’t light up your day, I don’t know what will.

Maybe oreo ice creammm.

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