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Sexual reproduction involves the combination and intermixing of genetic traits. Specialized cells (gametes) combine to form offspring that inherit the traits of each parent. Genetic information is transmitted to chromosome within the nucleus of specialized sex cells called gametes. A wide range of species is specialized in male and female varieties, each known as sex. 

Male and Female Sex Cells

The term sex is employed in a broad sense, which includes everything from the sex cells to sexual behaviour. Primary sex organs generally distinguish one kind of individual from another to produce either sperm cells or ova. There are two types of sex cells, that are male and female sex cells. The male sex cell is known as the sperm cell and the female sex cell is known as the ova or egg.

Male and female sex cells are the basic requirement for sexual reproduction in which reproductive cells of the different parents come together and fuse in pairs. The new cells formed will be genetically different from the parent cell to a significant degree. Among humans and other mammals, males usually carry X and Y chromosomes (XY), while females usually carry two X chromosomes (XX) that are part of the XY sex-determining system. Other animals have different sex-determining systems, such as the ZW system for birds, the X₀ system for insects, and various environmental systems, such as reptiles and crustaceans. 


A gamete is a haploid cell that fuses with another haploid cell during fertilization in organisms that reproduce sexually and possess only one set of dissimilar chromosomes. Gametes are reproductive cells of the organism, also referred to as sex cells. The male sex cell is also known as a sperm cell, spermatozoa, or the male gametes. Both the sex cells contribute their nuclei, but, apart from the nucleus, only the egg is equipped to undergo development to form a new organism. 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 a larger type of gamete—called an ova—and a male produces a smaller type of tadpole — called a sperm. The sperm cells or sperm cells are small and motile due to the flagellum, a tail-shaped structure that allows the cell to propel and move. On the other hand, each egg cell or ova is relatively large and non-motile. In short, a gamete is an egg cell (a female gamete) or a sperm (male gamete).


Fertilization is the fusion of gametes to give rise to a new individual organism or offspring and to initiate its development. Processes such as insemination or pollination that occur before gametes are also sometimes informally referred to as fertilization. Fertilization in humans is a combination of human egg and sperm, usually occurring in the fallopian tube ampulla, producing a zygote cell, or fertilized egg, which initiates prenatal development. In the nineteenth century, scientists discovered the dynamics of human fertilization.

Sex Determination 

To determine the sex of an individual mainly depend on the development of sexual characteristics in an organism.  Most of the time, organisms that create their offspring through sexual reproduction have two sexes, but sometimes it might be hermaphrodite having both the sexes. 

In many species, gender is genetic: males and females have different alleles or even different genes that specify their sexual morphology. In animals, this is often accompanied by chromosomal differences, usually by combinations of XY, ZW, XO, ZO chromosomes, or haplodiploidy. In general, sexual differentiation is triggered by the main gene (sex locus), with a multitude of other genes following the domino effect. Some species, such as various plants and fish, do not have fixed sex, but instead, go through life cycles and change sex based on genetic indices during the corresponding life stages of their type. This could be due to environmental factors such as seasons and temperatures.

Sex Chromosome 

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In several species of animals, a sex chromosome is a type of chromosome that participates in the sex determination of the offspring. Humans are similar to any other mammals having two sex chromosomes x and y. When there are two x chromosomes, the offspring will be female and when there is one x chromosome and y chromosome, the offspring will be male. The sex of the offspring mainly depends on the male sex cell because it carries two types of chromosome X and y whereas ova has only on chromosome X. 

Interesting Facts 

  • Male produces more sex cells in comparison to female. 

  • Ancient Egyptian used contraceptives thousands of years ago.

  • Until the 17th century, male and female reproductive parts were described using one sexual term.

  • Some people are born with two uteruses. 

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FAQs on Sex

1. How Many Sex Cells are there?

Answer. As a matter of fact, the parent cell gives rise to four sex cells. The nucleus of each sex cell contains half the original genetic material. These cells develop into sperm cells in men. Only one of the four sex cells in women is an egg cell that can be fertilized.

2. How Many Chromosomes are there in Humans?

Answer. In humans, each cell usually contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. Twenty-two of these pairs, called autosomes, look the same for both males and females. The 23rd pair, sex chromosomes, differs between males and females. Women have two copies of the X-chromosome, while males have one X-chromosome and one Y-chromosome.

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