Mammalian gametes

A comparison between the mammalian male gamete (sperm cell) and female gamete (egg cell) and an explanation of their features in relation to their purpose

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 18-03-12 17:25

Sperm cell (male gamete)

Head - acrosome (specialised lysosome for breaking zona pellucida) and nucleus (DNA)

Middle - mitochondria 

Tail - flagellum (swimming to fertilise the egg cell)

Size: smaller than ovum - does not contain mass cytoplasm to supply food reserves for zygote, its small and lightweight size allows sperm to move more easily to swim to egg

No coating - no coating necessary - motile, easy penetration of ovum coating (follicle cells and zona pellucida)

Tail - flagellum - sperm cell is motile to allow sperm to swim to fertilise the egg

Acrosome (specialised lysosome) - in the head to release digestive enzymes to break down the layer of follicle cells and the zona pellucida

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Egg cell (female gamete)

Follicle cells and zona pellucida - outer layer of the cell

Cell membrane - middle layer of the cell

Cytoplasm, lysosomes, nucleus - inner cell

Size - bigger than sperm to contain mass cytoplasm as a lipid food reserve for early development of the embryo whilst as a zygote (fertilised cell) for the first 4-5 days

Coating - Follicle cells and zona pellucida - essential to allowing only one sperm cell to enter the egg cell cytoplasm and fertilise the egg

Tail - the egg cell has no flagellum and is immotile, unable to move, as it is simply wafted along the oviducts)

Lysosomes - release enzymes that cause a chemical reaction to occur and for the zona pellucida to thicken and disallow the entry of any more sperm cells following a sperm entering the cell cytoplasm

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It was really good. Thanks you :)

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