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Fertilization

Fertilization

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Description:

This lesson will explain the processes involved in fertilization of a female egg.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

Welcome to this lesson on fertilization. Today you are going to learn specifically about:

  1. Process of Fertilization
  2. Embryo Development

1. Process of Fertilization

Fertilization is the process in which male sperm and female egg combine genetic information, generally as a result of sexual intercourse. In this process semen is ejaculated from the penis into the vagina and travels through the vagina, cervix, and uterus, and eventually into the ova duct. An ova duct is the area where an oocyte is then fertilized by a sperm cell.

During fertilization the acrosome, or enzyme cap on the head of the sperm, will allow the sperm to penetrate the zona pellucida, which is the thick layer that surrounds the egg. Once a sperm gets inside, fertilization has occurred. The egg matures once fertilization happens and is then called an ovum.

Once the sperm and egg nuclei have combined we now have a cell with a total of 46 chromosomes, forming a zygote. A zygote is essentially the first true cell of an individual. The ovum, at that point, will then start to divide by mitosis and begin to form an embryo.

Terms to Know

    • Sexual Intercourse
    • The process in which semen is ejaculated from the male penis into the female vagina which can result in the fertilization of an egg cell.
    • Fertilization
    • The process by which the nuclei of a male sperm combines with the nuclei of a female egg.
    • Zygote
    • The first cell of an individual formed when a sperm cell fertilizes an egg cell.
    • Ovum
    • A mature egg cell.

2. Embryo Development

Once a sperm has entered the egg the nuclei of the sperm will fuse with the nuclei of the egg. Remember, the nuclei of sperm have a total of 23 chromosomes making them haploid. Haploid means they have half the number of chromosomes of a regular body cell. The nuclei of egg cells also have 23 chromosomes. When the 23 chromosomes from the sperm combine with the 23 from the egg to give a total of 46 chromosomes, a new diploid cell is created which is the beginning of the embryo.

Summary

This lesson has been an overview on the process of fertilization. This lesson also covered the beginnings of embryo development.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR AMANDA SODERLIND​

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Sexual Intercourse

    The process in which semen is ejaculated from the male penis into the female vagina which can result in the fertilization of an egg cell.

  • Fertilization

    The process by which the nuclei of a male sperm combines with the nuclei of a female egg.

  • Zygote

    The first cell of an individual formed when a sperm cell fertilizes an egg cell.

  • Ovum

    A mature egg cell.