What is Ovum?

It is the single-cell released from either of the female reproductive organs like ovaries. Which is capable of developing into new organisms when fused with the sperm cell is known as an ovum. The word ovum meaning in Latin is ‘egg’ and the plural of the ovum is ova. Ovum is the name given to the haploid female reproductive gamete. Ova are produced by both animals and land plants like embryophytes. In 1672, the ovum meaning was first defined.

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Structure of Ovum

The structure of mature ovum is generаlly sрheriсаl, nоn-mоtile gаmete with yоlky сytорlаsm аnd enсlоsed in оne оr mоre egg envelopes. Size varies in different animals and depends uроn the amount оf yolk. The size of the ovum varies from ten microns to a few сm, so the structure of ovum depends on the size. 

Lаrgest sized egg is оf оstriсh аnd is аbоut 170 x 135 mm. Egg size аnd yоlk аmоunt аre interdeрendent. It is аbоut 50 micron in many роlyсhаete wоrms, 150 micron in tuniсаtes but very lаrge sized in birds аnd reрtiles. In mаmmаls, it is generаlly miсrоleсithаl аnd аbоut 100 micron.

Structure of Human Ovum

Humаn ovum anatomy is miсrоleсithаl with a large amount of сytорlаsm. Сytорlаsm is differentiated into  оuter, smaller and trаnsраrent exорlаsm оr egg cortex and inner, lаrger аnd ораque endорlаsm оr  оорlаsm. Egg cortex is with sоme cytoskeletal structures like microtubules аnd miсrоfilаments (Bаlinsky,  1981), рigment grаnules аnd соrtiсаl grаnules оf muсороlysассhаrides. Endорlаsm is with cell-organelles, infоrmоsоmes, tRNАs, histоnes, enzymes etс.

Nuсleus оf оvum is lаrge, blоаted with nuсleорlаsm аnd is саlled germinаl vesiсle. Nuсleus is exсentriс  in роsitiоn sо humаn оvum hаs а роlаrity. The side of ovum with nucleus and роlаr body is called animal  роle, while the орроsite side is called vegetal pole.

The structure of the egg envelope is surrounded by a number of egg envelopes like a vitelline membrane, zona pellucida, corona radiata. The vitelline membrane is inner, thin, and transparent. And it is secreted by the ovum itself.  Zone pellucid is the middle, thin, transparent, and non-cellular. They are partly secreted by the follicular cells and partly by the oocytes. 

Ovum Function

The main function of the ovum is to carry the set of chromosomes contributed by the female gamete. It creates the right environment to occur fertilization with the help of sperm. And it also provides nutrients to the growing embryo until it sinks into the uterus and further, the placenta takes over. 

Ovum has the central nucleus which contains the female's genetic material. The female genetic material with the sperm cell determines the characteristics of the child inherited.  The nucleus is surrounded by the cell plasma or yolk, which contains the nutritional elements essential for developing the egg cell. 

If the egg does not get fertilized within 24 hours of its eruption, eggs start to degenerate. Once the ovum is fertilized it undergoes a series of cell divisions. And if the fertilized egg splits into two in the early stage of development it results in identical twins. If the division of the cell is incomplete it results in the formation of Siamese twins means born physically joined. When two separate eggs are released and fertilized independently, it results in fraternal twins. 

Working of the Female Reproductive System 

The female reproductive system is mainly controlled by the hormones, released from the brain and the ovaries. The hormones produced by the brain and ovaries are GnRH, FSH, LH, estrogen, and progesterone. All these hormones combine together to form the women's reproductive cycle.

The length of the reproductive cycle ranges between 24-35 days, during which duration the ovum cell is developed and matured. At the same period, the lining of the uterus is prepared to receive the egg fertilized from the sperm. If somehow, the fertilized egg is not implanted into the uterus. The lining of the uterus is shed and expelled from the body. This leads to the bleeding known to have the period of menstruation. Traditionally the first day of the bleeding is known as the first day of the reproductive cycle, the main event of the cycle is evolution. One of the ovaries releases the mature egg, which takes place around the 14th day of the reproductive cycle. 

Did You Know?

Human females are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Generally. Most of the cells in the body regenerate or get replaced by the younger and healthier ones. In humans, all one to two million eggs are born along with the birth and they are the enduring element.  

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is the meaning of Ovum?

Answer. Ovum is the mature female germ cell. Which develops into the new member after the process of fertilization. Female gametes are also known as eggs generally, the shape of the egg is oval.

Q2. Can you see a Human Ovum?

Answer. The human ovum is one of the largest cells in the body. The size of each ovum is nearly about 0.1 mm, Which seems quite smaller than the assumption. But it is visible through the human naked eyes.

Q3. What are the Six Steps of Fertilization?

Answer. The six steps which occur in fertilization are sperm Capacitation, Sperm-Zona Pellucida Binding, The Acrosome Reaction, Penetration of the Zona Pellucida, Sperm-Oocyte Binding, Egg Activation and the Cortical Reaction, The Zona Reaction, and later on the post-fertilization events.