Sexual reproduction

Most animals carry out sexual reproduction.

Sexual reproduction involves the joining of two sex cells (gametes) – the sperm (male gamete) and the egg/ovum (female gamete).

The male and female reproductive systems

The male reproductive system makes sperm and delivers it into the female reproductive system.

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Sperm are specialised cells highly adapted for their function.

Their adaptations include:

  • A tail – called a flagellum – allowing it to swim through the female reproductive system.
  • A haploid nucleus – containing half the normal number of chromosomes.
  • Many mitochondria to produce energy

The female reproductive system makes and releases eggs/ova. It also protects and nourishes the foetus from fertilisation until birth.

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