A gamete is a sex cell that enables sexual reproduction. The word gamete comes from the ancient Greek and means "spouse".
Structure of the gamete
A gamete is a male or female germ cell (reproductive cell) produced by gametogenesis in the gonads. During this production, the primordial germ cells which have a diploid set of chromosomes (i.e. 46 in men), undergo meiosis which halves the number of chromosomes and they become haploid (23 chromosomes).
In men, the male gamete, or spermatozoa, looks like a small oval cell with a mobile tail which it uses to move about. The female gamete, or ovum, is far larger as it contains many nutrients.
Function of the gamete
The function of the gametes is to fuse to give birth to a new individual with a unique genetic heritage.
Arbitrary loss of a chromosome from each pair allows the two gametes to fertilise each other, fusion of which produces an egg (zygote) which, like its parents, has 46 chromosomes.
The gametes are the reproductive cells that undergo fertilisation. © DR