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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Females, producing large, non-motile gametes, have evolved many times.
▪ As gamete-production proceeds, it will have a non-zero probability of death or of becoming unable to produce gametes.
▪ Later, however, these germ cells undergo meiosis, to produce gametes.
▪ A female produces few, large, immobile gametes called eggs.
▪ A male is defined as the gender that produces sperm or pollen: small, mobile, multitudinous gametes.
▪ Almost certainly, the first sexually reproducing organisms produced only small motile gametes, as many simple animals and plants do today.
▪ But size is not the only difference between male and female gametes.
▪ Diploidy is restored when two haploid gametes fuse.
▪ In order to meet this third requirement, then, gametes must be able to find and make contact with other gametes.
▪ This explains why there are two genders, one with small gametes, the other with large ones.
▪ We start from the gross difference in size of the male and female gamete.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Gamete \Gam"ete\ (g[a^]m"[=e]t; g[.a]*m[=e]t"; the latter usually in compounds), n. [Gr. gameth` wife, or game`ths husband, fr. gamei^n to marry.] (Biol.) A sexual cell or germ cell having a single set of unpaired chromosomes; a conjugating cell which unites with another of like or unlike character to form a new individual. In Bot., gamete designates esp. the similar sex cells of the lower thallophytes which unite by conjugation, forming a zygospore. The gametes of higher plants are of two sorts, sperm (male) and egg (female); their union is called fertilization, and the resulting zygote an o["o]spore. In Zo["o]l., gamete is most commonly used of the sexual cells of certain Protozoa, though also extended to the germ cells of higher forms.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"sexual protoplasmic body," 1880, coined 1878 by German cytologist Eduard Strasburger (1844-1912), the widespread attribution of the word's coinage to Mendel being apparently erroneous. From Greek gamete "a wife," gametes "a husband," from gamein "to take to wife, to marry," from PIE root *gem(e)- "to marry" (cognates: Greek gambros "son-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law;" Sanskrit jamih "brother, sister," jama daughter-in-law;" Avestan zama-tar "son-in-law;" Latin gener "son-in-law"). See also -gamy. The seventh month of the ancient Attic calendar (corresponding to late January and early February) was Gamelion, "Month of Marriages." Related: Gametal.


n. (context cytology English) A reproductive cell (male (sperm) or female (egg)) that has only half the usual number of chromosomes.


n. a mature sexual reproductive cell having a single set of unpaired chromosomes


A gamete (from Ancient Greek γαμετή gamete from gamein "to marry") is a cell that fuses with another cell during fertilization (conception) in organisms that sexually reproduce. 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 (or egg)—and a male produces the smaller tadpole-like type—called a sperm. 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 Austrian biologist Gregor Mendel. Gametes carry half the genetic information of an individual, one ploidy of each type, and are created through meiosis.

Usage examples of "gamete".

When an animal is ready to reproduce, its germ-cellsor reproductive cellseach divide into two daughter cells called gametes, each daughter cell possessing one-half the chromosomes of the parent cell, every chromosome in each gamete corresponding to an opposite number chromosome in the other.

He may receive the sextuple super-gamete from the tkan and transmit the original single gamete to the guur, he may be between the flin and blap, the blap and srob, whatever is required.

The germ-cell divides into seven gametes, six of them with cilia and the seventh secreted either inside or outside the Plookh, depending on the sex.

What counts are mutations in the gametes, the eggs and sperm cells, which are the agents of sexual reproduction.

When Soli did not return from his journey and it seemed he would never return, she used the gametes to fertilize one of her eggs and had the egg implanted in her womb.

With another aspect of her attention, she continued to discuss with Deneb the modifications they would need to make to the extracted gametes.

Right now we are concentrating on cryopreservation techniques for both embryos and gametes.

Since all four phenotypes of the back-cross progeny contain at least one each of both recessive genes or one each of both dominant genes, the back-cross phenotype is a direct representation of the four possible gametes produced by the F1 hybrid.

We might search your germ plasm throughout your entire fertile period and never come across two gametes that could be combined in this combination.

The generative cell divides into two gametes (sex cells) as it travels the length of the pollen tube.

It seems obvious that there was a component of genotypic variability in our previous female donor that fought the dominance of paramount traits present in Marc's gametes.

If, in a given small constellation of male gametes, enough members are examined to determine that they all stem from the same parent cell, then we may examine in minute detail the group producing the sex we do not want.

The polar body is a pseudo egg, containing a chromosome pattern complementary to that of the true gamete, but it is sterile.

Seven years ago you got me shunted off into the minor area of the project's effect on female gametes -- which nobody cared about because it was already clear there was no way around sterility as a side effect.

Since the male germ-cellif I remember rightlyhas only twenty-three identical pairs of chromosomes and an additional unmatched pair called the X-Y chromosome, it divides into two male gametes of twenty-four chromosomes each, of which only twenty-three have a twin in each gamete.