What is the Difference Between Gamete and Gametophyte

The main difference between gamete and gametophyte is that gamete is a mature haploid male or female germ cell, which is able to unite with another of the opposite sex in sexual reproduction to form a zygote, whereas gametophyte is the haploid phase of the life cycle of a plant, producing gametes. Furthermore, the two types of gametes are male and female gametes while the two types of gametophytes are male and female gametophytes.

Gamete and gametophyte are two types of related structures that appear in the life cycle of plants which show alteration of generation.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is a Gamete
     – Definition, Structure, Role
2. What is a Gametophyte
     – Definition, Structure, Role
3. What are the Similarities Between Gamete and Gametophyte
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Gamete and Gametophyte
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Gamete, Gametophyte, Sexual Reproduction, Sporophyte, Zygote

Difference Between Gamete and Gametophyte - Comparison Summary

What is a Gamete

A gamete is a reproductive cell produced as a result of sexual reproduction of both animals and plants. The main feature of gametes is the presence of half of the chromosomes when compared to a vegetative cell of the same species. Therefore, meiosis is the susceptive form of cell division involved in the production of gametes. Generally, most organisms are heterogamous and they produce two types of gametes as male and female gametes. Moreover, heterogamy or anisogamy refers to the union of gametes of two different sizes and shapes while isogamy refers to the union of gametes of opposite sexes with similar size and shape.

What is the Difference Between Gamete and Gametophyte

Figure 1: Formation of Gametes

Furthermore, gametes are produced inside sex organs. Male gametes are produced inside antheridia while female gametes are produced inside archegonia in plants. On the other hand, in animals, they are produced inside testis and ovaries, respectively. However, the main function of gametes is to fuse with the opposite gamete to form the zygote.

What is a Gametophyte

Gametophyte is the haploid generation produced during the alteration of generations of plants and algae. It arises from a haploid spore produced by the sporophyte. Moreover, gametophyte is a multicellular structure, which contains male and female sex organs responsible for the production of gametes. These sex organs are commonly known as gametangia and they undergo mitosis to produce haploid gametes. The zygote produced by the fertilization of gametes then gives rise to the sporophyte, which is diploid.

What is the Difference Between Gamete and Gametophyte

Figure 2: Gametophyte

Moreover, the gametophyte of bryophytes and algae is the dominant phase of the life cycle while in other plants, the dominant phase of the life cycle is the sporophyte. Also, some bryophytes including liverworts develop male and female gametophytes separately by the germination of microspores and megaspores respectively. Other plants excluding seed plants produce independent gametophytes from their sporophytes. However, seed plants develop gametophytes at the microscopic level.

Similarities Between Gamete and Gametophyte

  • Gamete and gametophyte are two related structures of plants, which undergo the alteration of generations.
  • They collectively form the haploid or gametophyte phase of the life cycle.
  • Moreover, they are responsible for the sexual reproduction of plants.
  • Their main function is to produce a zygote, which develops into a sporophyte, which represents the diploid phase of the life cycle.
  • Besides, both structures can be found in the form of male and female structures.

Difference Between Gamete and Gametophyte

Definition

A gamete refers to a mature haploid male or female germ cell, which is able to unite with another of the opposite sex in sexual reproduction to form a zygote, while gametophyte refers to the gamete-producing and usually haploid phase, producing the zygote from which the sporophyte arises. These definitions explain the fundamental difference between gamete and gametophyte.

Significance

Thus, a gamete is a reproductive cell while gametophyte is the haploid phase of the life cycle of a plant. And, this is the main difference between gamete and gametophyte.

Number of Cells

Moreover, another difference between gamete and gametophyte is that a gamete is a single-celled structure while gametophyte is a multicellular structure.

Occurrence

Furthermore, one other difference between gamete and gametophyte is that gametes occur in both plants and animals while gametophyte only occurs in plants.

Arise from

Also, while gametes are produced inside the sex organs, gametophyte develops from a haploid spore.

Function

Besides the above, gamete fuses with a gamete of the opposite sex to form the zygote while gametophyte is the sexual phase of the plant life cycle and it is responsible for the production of gametes. Hence, this is also a difference between gamete and gametophyte.

Differentiation

The two types of gametes are male and female gametes while the two types of gametophytes are male and female gametophytes.

Conclusion

A gamete is a reproductive cell of both plants and animals. The two forms of gametes are male and female gametes. In plants, the gametophyte is responsible for the production of gametes. The main function of gametes is to fuse with the opposite form of gamete to form the zygote. In comparison, the gametophyte is the sexual or haploid phase of plants. It arises from a haploid spore and is responsible for the production of gametes. Therefore, the main difference between gamete and gametophyte is their structure and role.

References:

1. “Gamete.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, Available Here.
2. “Gametophyte – Definition, Function and Examples.” Biology Dictionary, Biology Dictionary, 28 Apr. 2017, Available Here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Production of Gametes” By cat.nash (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
2. “Gametophyte2” By Random Tree – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) 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

Leave a Reply