The development of a female gametophyte is initiated with the enlargement of one of the megaspores (usually the one close to the chalaza in a linear tetrad) followed by three mitotic divisions. Thus, the female gametophyte, also called the embryo sac is almost always a 7-celled or 8-nucleate structure. The eight nuclei thus formed organize into the egg apparatus, central cell with two polar nuclei and three antipodal cells. This mode of embryo sac development occurs in the majority of flowering plants.
There are variations from this mode of female gametophyte development. In order to visualize these deviations let us recall the formation of megaspore tetrad. Out of the four megaspores, three degenerate and only one participates in the formation of embryo sac. This mode of development of female gametophyte is known as the monosporic type. In some plants, two megaspores out of four participate. For example, if after meiosis, the lower or the upper dyad produces the embryo sac and the other degenerates, the development is termed bisporic. Sometimes, cell plate formation does not occur after any of the meiotic divisions and all the four megaspore nuclei contribute to embryo sac formation. 'This is called tetrasporic type of development. Depending upon the orientation and subsequent behavior of the megaspore nuclei and their derivatives, the tetrasporic gametophyte may be of several types.