Successful fertilization in humans, achieved when parental chromosomes intermix at first mitosis, requires centrosome restoration and microtubule-mediated motility. Imaging of inseminated human oocytes reveals that the sperm introduces the centrosome. The centrosome then nucleates the new microtubule assembly to form the sperm aster — a step essential for successful fertilization. Oocytes from some infertile patients failed to complete fertilization because of defects in uniting the sperm and egg nuclei, indicating that failure to properly effect the cytoplasmic motions uniting the nuclei results in human infertility. These discoveries have important implications for infertility diagnosis and managing reproduction.
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