Reproduction is the hallmark of life. All species reproduce to continue the survival of their kind. Though the process of reproduction varies slightly through mammals, the basic sex cells (gametes) are more or less the same. The male gamete is also known as the sperm cell, and the female the ovum. The process the sperm and ovum undergo to create life is both fascinating and detailed. The sperm is produced in the testes. This specialized cell develops through several stages. In the first stage, the gamete is called spermatocyte. Each spermatocyte contains forty-six chromosomes (one set of “y” chromosones, and one set of “x”.) The spermatocytes divide into two spermatids, each having twenty-three chromosomes. The sperm at this stage resembles a tadpole with a head, cone-shaped mid-piece, and a tail. The head of the sperm contains the nucleus in which chromosomes are stored. The mid-piece contains structures that provide the energy the tail needs to swim. Minutes after being released, the sperm begin the journey to the ovum. They pass from the vagina, through the cervix, into the uterus, and then the fallopian tube where the egg is waiting. Only one sperm cell is needed to fertilize the ovum, so after the ovum has been fertilized the outer layer of the egg hardens to prevent any other cells from penetrating. (Reproductive System) During fertilization, the twenty-three chromosomes from the male sperm combine with the twenty-three chromosomes from the female ovum. The sperm holds the sex chromosome and will determine the sex of the offspring. Once the egg is fertilized it is referred to as a zygote. This entire process is the creation of life. Sperm cells have a direct role in reproduction. Though their “niche” is vital, it would be rendered useless without the ovum. Clearly, the process of the sperm and ovum from start to finish is a very interesting one. The male and the female are both important when it comes to the relationship of the sperm and...
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