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43.3C: Gametogenesis (Spermatogenesis and Oogenesis)

  • Page ID
    14124
  • Spermatogenesis and oogenesis are both forms of gametogenesis, in which a diploid gamete cell produces haploid sperm and egg cells, respectively.

    Learning Objectives

    • Distinguish between spermatogenesis and oogenesis

    Key Points

    • Gametogenesis, the production of sperm (spermatogenesis) and eggs (oogenesis), takes place through the process of meiosis.
    • In oogenesis, diploid oogonium go through mitosis until one develops into a primary oocyte, which will begin the first meiotic division, but then arrest; it will finish this division as it develops in the follicle, giving rise to a haploid secondary oocyte and a smaller polar body.
    • The secondary oocyte begins the second meiotic division and then arrests again; it will not finish this division unless it is fertilized by a sperm; if this occurs, a mature ovum and another polar body is produced.
    • In spermatogenesis, diploid spermatogonia go through mitosis until they begin to develop into gametes; eventually, one develops into a primary spermatocyte that will go through the first meiotic division to form two haploid secondary spermatocytes.
    • The secondary spermatocytes will go through a second meiotic division to each produce two spermatids; these cells will eventually develop flagella and become mature sperm.

    Key Terms

    • spermatocyte: a male gametocyte, from which a spermatozoon develops
    • oocyte: a cell that develops into an egg or ovum; a female gametocyte
    • polar body: one of the small cells that are by-products of the meiosis that forms an egg
    • mitosis: the division of a cell nucleus in which the genome is copied and separated into two identical halves. It is normally followed by cell division
    • meiosis: cell division of a diploid cell into four haploid cells, which develop to produce gametes

    Gametogenesis (Spermatogenesis and Oogenesis)

    Gametogenesis, the production of sperm and eggs, takes place through the process of meiosis. During meiosis, two cell divisions separate the paired chromosomes in the nucleus and then separate the chromatids that were made during an earlier stage of the cell’s life cycle, resulting in gametes that each contain half the number of chromosomes as the parent. The production of sperm is called spermatogenesis and the production of eggs is called oogenesis.

    Oogenesis

    Oogenesis occurs in the outermost layers of the ovaries. As with sperm production, oogenesis starts with a germ cell, called an oogonium (plural: oogonia), but this cell undergoes mitosis to increase in number, eventually resulting in up to one to two million cells in the embryo.

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    Oogenesis: The process of oogenesis occurs in the ovary’s outermost layer. A primary oocyte begins the first meiotic division, but then arrests until later in life when it will finish this division in a developing follicle. This results in a secondary oocyte, which will complete meiosis if it is fertilized.

    The cell starting meiosis is called a primary oocyte. This cell will begin the first meiotic division, but be arrested in its progress in the first prophase stage. At the time of birth, all future eggs are in the prophase stage. At adolescence, anterior pituitary hormones cause the development of a number of follicles in an ovary. This results in the primary oocyte finishing the first meiotic division. The cell divides unequally, with most of the cellular material and organelles going to one cell, called a secondary oocyte, and only one set of chromosomes and a small amount of cytoplasm going to the other cell. This second cell is called a polar body and usually dies. A secondary meiotic arrest occurs, this time at the metaphase II stage. At ovulation, this secondary oocyte will be released and travel toward the uterus through the oviduct. If the secondary oocyte is fertilized, the cell continues through the meiosis II, completing meiosis, producing a second polar body and a fertilized egg containing all 46 chromosomes of a human being, half of them coming from the sperm.

    Spermatogenesis

    Spermatogenesis occurs in the wall of the seminiferous tubules, with stem cells at the periphery of the tube and the spermatozoa at the lumen of the tube. Immediately under the capsule of the tubule are diploid, undifferentiated cells. These stem cells, called spermatogonia (singular: spermatagonium), go through mitosis with one offspring going on to differentiate into a sperm cell, while the other gives rise to the next generation of sperm.

    image

    Spermatogenesis: During spermatogenesis, four sperm result from each primary spermatocyte, which divides into two haploid secondary spermatocytes; these cells will go through a second meiotic division to produce four spermatids.

    Meiosis begins with a cell called a primary spermatocyte. At the end of the first meiotic division, a haploid cell is produced called a secondary spermatocyte. This haploid cell must go through another meiotic cell division. The cell produced at the end of meiosis is called a spermatid. When it reaches the lumen of the tubule and grows a flagellum (or “tail”), it is called a sperm cell. Four sperm result from each primary spermatocyte that goes through meiosis.

    Stem cells are deposited during gestation and are present at birth through the beginning of adolescence, but in an inactive state. During adolescence, gonadotropic hormones from the anterior pituitary cause the activation of these cells and the production of viable sperm. This continues into old age.

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