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noun, plural: gametes

A mature haploid reproductive cell as produced by gametogenesis, and that which fuses with another from the opposite sex at fertilization resulting in the formation of a zygote that develops into a new individual


A gamete is a reproductive cell or sex cell that contains the haploid set of chromosomes. It is produced through a germ cell that undergoes gametogenesis, a process involving meiosis. The gametogenesis that leads to the production of the female gamete is called oogenesis. The process of producing the male gamete is called spermatogenesis. In certain organisms, like humans, there are two morphologically distinct types of gametes: (1) the male gamete (i.e. sperm cell) and (2) the female gamete (i.e. ovum). The male gamete is smaller in size and motile whereas the female gamete is several times bigger and non-motile. The haploid condition of the two gametes is essential so that at fertilization during sexual reproduction the integrity of the chromosomal number is maintained throughout generations. Sexual reproduction involving female and male gametes of different sizes is called anisogamy (or heterogamy) . Isogamy, in contrast, is a form of sexual reproduction wherein both male and female gametes are of the same size.

Word origin: Ancient Greek gametḗ (“wife”), gamétēs (“husband”), from gámos (“marriage”)


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  • gametic (adjective, of, pertaining to, or relating to, a gamete)