Characteristics of Gametes
Following are some general characteristics of gametes:
1. The female gametes are usually laden with food material, the yolk, while the male gametes are without food reserve.
2. The gametes of opposite sexes are generally unequal in size - the ones which are generally larger are the eggs or the female gametes, and the others that are smaller are called the spermatozoa (or sperms) or just the male gametes.
3. The female gametes are generally nonmotile or immobile (cannot move about actively) while the male ones are motile.
4. The sex cells or gametes which fertilize to generate a new individual usually come from different parents (males and females). This provides for the combination of genes from the two parents, and the offspring, due to such chance combinations of genes, may be better equipped (adapted) for life.
5. The gametes generally cannot develop singly. Instead, they must undergo syngamy involving fertilization in which the male and the female gametes fuse together to , form the zygote.
6. The zygote is still a single cell which has to go through a process of cell division and cell differentiation to gradually acquire the adult form and structure.
7. Both the types of gametes possess half the quantity of the genetic material (DNA), i.e. half the number of chromosomes of the parent. This is expressed by saying that the gametes are haploid (n) possessing only one out of each pair of chromosomes of the species, whereas the parents which produced them are diploid (2n).