Difference Between Male and Female Gametes

Main Difference – Male vs Female Gametes

Male and female gametes are the two types of reproductive cells produced by higher organisms. Reproductive cells also called sex cells. The main difference between male and female gametes is that male gametes are called sperm cells and are produced by the male reproductive organs whereas female gametes are called egg cells and are produced by the female reproductive organs. Both male and female gametes are produced by meiosis of the germ cells. Therefore, both male and female gametes are haploid. One male and one female gamete unite during the fertilization to form the diploid zygote. In seed bearing plants, pollen grain is the male gametophyte, which produces sperm cells. Female gametes of the seed-bearing plants are found inside the ovary. In animals, male and female gametes are produced in male and female gonads, respectively.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Male Gametes
      – Definition, Features, Types
2. What are Female Gametes
      – Definition, Features, Types
3. What are the Similarities Between Male and Female Gametes
      – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Male and Female Gametes
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Acrosome, Diploid, Egg Cells, Female gametes, Fertilization, Haploid, Male Gametes, Meiosis, Ova, Reproductive Cells, Sperm Cells, Spermatozoa, Zygote

Difference Between Male and Female Gametes - Comparison Summary

What are Male Gametes

The male gametes are the reproductive cells which unite with female reproductive cells during fertilization to produce a zygote. Male gametes are also called sperm cells. They are produced by both plants and animals in a process called meiosis. The differentiation process of the sperms is called spermatogenesis.

Male Gametes in Plants

The two types of seed bearing plants are angiosperms and gymnosperms. Angiosperms are flowering plants. The male reproductive organ of a flower is called stamens. The stamen is composed of an anther and a filament. In angiosperms, the male gametes can be found inside the pollen grains. The pollen grains are produced inside the pollen sacs of the anthers. In non-flowering plants such as gymnosperms, male gametes are produced inside the pollen cones.

Difference Between Male and Female Gametes_Figure 1

Figure 1: Pollen Grains

Spermatozoa

The sperm cells that are produced by animals are called spermatozoa. Most animal sperms are flagellated except the sperms of nematode, crayfish, millipedes, and mites. In higher vertebrates, sperms are produced in the testes. Head and tail are the two components of a matured sperm. The head of the human sperms are almond-shaped and mainly contain the nucleus. The nucleus comprises one set of chromosomes of the species.

Difference Between Male and Female Gametes_Figure 2

Figure 2: Spermatozoa

The cap-like structure that covers the head of the sperm is called the acrosome. The acrosome contains enzymes to degrade the protective layers of the female gamete. Mitochondria can be found in the middle of the sperm. The tail of the sperm consists of a flagellum, which is involved in the movement of the sperm. The spermatozoa are shown in figure 2

What are Female Gametes

The female gametes are the reproductive cells, which unite with male reproductive cells during fertilization to produce a zygote. Female gametes are also called egg cells or ova. The egg cells are also produced by both plants and animals in a process called meiosis. The differentiation process of the egg cells is called oogenesis.

Female Gametes in Plants

The female gametes in the angiosperms are produced in the ovary of the flower. The female part of the plant is called the pistil. The pistil is composed of a stigma, style, and an ovary. The female gametes of the gymnosperms are produced in the pine corns. The pine cones are produced at the tips of the branches. The ovary of a rose is shown in figure 3.

Difference Between Male and Female Gametes

Figure 3: Rose Ovary

Ova

The female gametes produced by the animals are called ova. The ovum is much larger than a sperm cell. Therefore, ova are typically immobile. The young ovum of an animal is called the ovule. The ova are produced by female gonads called ovaries. The formation of the oocyte begins after the puberty. Human ovum is 0.12 mm in diameter and is visible to the naked eye. The formation of the oocytes stops at the menopause. A human ovum is shown in figure 4.

Main Difference - Male vs Female Gametes

Figure 4: Human Ovum

Similarities Between Male and Female Gametes

  • Male and female gametes are the reproductive cells of the higher organisms.
  • Both male and female gametes are produced by meiosis.
  • Both male and female gametes are haploid. Therefore, each gamete contains one copy of each chromosome.
  • Both male and female gametes unite during fertilization to produce the diploid zygote.

Difference Between Male and Female Gametes

Definition

Male Gametes: A male gamete is the male reproductive cell, which unites with the female gamete to produce the zygote.

Female Gametes: A female gamete is the female reproductive cell, which unites with the male gamete to produce the zygote.

Formed by

Male Gametes: Male gametes are produced by spermatogenesis.

Female Gametes: Female gamates are produced by oogenesis.

In Seed-bearing Plants

Male Gametes: Male gametes can be found inside the pollen grains of the seed-bearing plants.

Female Gametes: Female gametes can be found inside the ovary of seed-bearing plants.

In Animals

Male Gametes: Male gametes are produced in the testes.

Female Gametes: Female gametes are produced in the ovaries.

Size

Male Gametes: Male gametes are smaller than female gametes.

Female Gametes: Female gametes of humans are 100 000 times larger than male gametes of humans.

Shape

Male Gametes: Male gametes are corn-shaped cells.

Female Gametes: Female gametes are spherical-shaped cells.

Size of Cytoplasm

Male Gametes: Male gametes contains a small cytoplasm. Therefore, male gametes have a lower weight, enabling the swimming.

Female Gametes: Female gametes contains a larger cytoplasm to nourish the embryo.

Mobility

Male Gametes: Male gametes are mobile.

Female Gametes: female gametes are immobile.

Tail/Flagella

Male Gametes: Male gametes contain a tail or flagella, which helps in swimming.

Female Gametes: Female gametes do not contain tails or flagella.

Amount 

Male Gametes: Male gametes are produced in large numbers to ensure a successful fertilization.

Female Gametes: Only one female gamete is released per month in humans.

Zona Pellucida

Male Gametes: male gametes lack a zona pellucida.

Female Gametes: Female gametes comprise a jelly coat called zona pellucida to which the male gametes bind to.

Acrosomes

Male Gametes: Male gametes comprise an acrosome, which contains the enzymes to degrade the layers surrounding the female gamete.

Female Gametes: Female gametes lack acrosomes.

Mitochondrial Level

Male Gametes: Male gametes comprise a lot of mitochondria to produce energy to swim.

Female Gametes: Female gametes comprise a few mitochondria since they are immobile.

Conclusion

Male and female gametes are the two types of haploid reproductive cells produced by plants and animals. Male gametes are called sperms. Female gametes are called egg cells. Both male and female gametes are formed by the meiosis. Therefore, both types of gametes comprise a single set of chromosomes of the species. One male gamete unites with one female gamete to form the zygote, which develops into a new organism.

Reference:

1. “Sperm.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc., n.d. Web. Available here. 14 Aug. 2017. 
2. Battista, Jeremy. “Male Gamete in Plants: Definition & Concept.” Study.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Available here. 14 Aug. 2017. 
3. Alberts, Bruce. “Eggs.” Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition.U.S. National Library of Medicine, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. Available here.  14 Aug. 2017. 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Image 1″ (Public Domain) via Pixino
2. “Sperms (urine) – Spermler (idrar) – 02″ By Doruk Salancı – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
3. “Rose hip 02 ies” By Frank Vincentz – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
4. “Gray3″ Von Henry Vandyke Carter – Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body (See “Buch” section below)Bartleby.com: Gray’s Anatomy, Tafel 3 (Gemeinfrei) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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