A gamete (/ˈɡæmt/; from Ancient Greek γαμετή (gametḗ) 'wife', ultimately from Ancient Greek γάμος (gámos) 'marriage') is a haploid cell that fuses with another haploid cell during fertilization in organisms that reproduce sexually.[1] Gametes are an organism's reproductive cells, also referred to as sex cells.[2] In species that produce two morphologically distinct types of gametes, and in which each individual produces only one type, a female is any individual that produces the larger type of gamete—called an ovum— and a male produces the smaller type—called a sperm. Sperm cells or spermatozoa are small and motile due to the flagellum, a tail-shaped structure that allows the cell to propel and move. In contrast, each egg cell or ovum is relatively large and non-motile.[2] In short a gamete is an egg cell (female gamete) or a sperm (male gamete). In animals, ova mature in the ovaries of females and sperm develop in the testes of males. During fertilization, a spermatozoon and ovum unite to form a new diploid organism.[2] Gametes carry half the genetic information of an individual, one ploidy of each type, and are created through meiosis, in which a germ cell undergoes two fissions, resulting in the production of four gametes.[1] In biology, the type of gamete an organism produces determines the classification of its sex.[3]

This is an example of anisogamy or heterogamy, the condition in which females and males produce gametes of different sizes (this is the case in humans; the human ovum has approximately 100,000 times the volume of a single human sperm cell). In contrast, isogamy is the state of gametes from both sexes being the same size and shape, and given arbitrary designators for mating type. The name gamete was introduced by the German cytologist Eduard Strasburger. Male and female gametes set the basis for the sexual roles and sexual selection.[4]

Oogenesis is the process of female gamete formation in animals. This process involves meiosis (including meiotic recombination) occurring in the diploid primary oocyte to produce the haploid ovum. Spermatogenesis is the process of male gamete formation in animals. This process also involves meiosis occurring in the diploid primary spermatocyte to produce the haploid spermatozoon.

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