Although reproduction is one of the life processes it is not vital to an individuals survival but rather to the survival of the species. Some organisms are able to reproduce without the fusion of 2 gametes, (sex cells) this is called asexual reproduction and produces offspring nearly identical to that of the parent. Most complex organisms reproduce by fusing 2 gametes to produce a zygote, this is called sexual reproduction. When a Sperm and an Ova fuse it is called fertilization.
The process by which the male gamete (sperm) is produced is called Spermatogenesis. Spermatogenesis occurs in the male gonad (testes) which are located in the scrotum. The Male testes are located outside of the body because spermatogenesis must take place 2 degrees below body temperature (34-36 C). The producing of sperm is constant and at a rate of about 1,000 sperm per minute. once the immature sperm cells are formed they travel to the epididymis to mature. Sperm take about 18 days to mature and can be stored in the epididymis for 2-3 months before being reabsorbed.
The process by which the female gamete (ova) is produced is called oogenesis. Oogenesis occurs in the female gonad (ovary) which are located in the abdomen. This process differs from spermatogenesis because only 1 gamete is produce and 3 polar bodies are then reabsorbed by the female body. Oogenesis is also regulated by the hormones of female menstrual cycle, occurring approximately once a month (28 days).
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Mitosis vs Meiosis