The male reproductive system consists of the testes, genital excurrent ducts, accessory sex glands, and penis (Fig. 21.1). The accessory sex glands include the seminal vesicles, prostate, and bulbourethral glands. The two primary functions of the testis are the production of sperm, male gametes (spermatogenesis) and synthesis of androgens, or sex hormones (steroidogenesis). Androgens, mainly testosterone, are essential for spermatogenesis, play an important role in embryonic development of the male embryo into the phenotypic male fetus, and are responsible for sexual dimorphism (male physical and behavioral characteristics). The events of cell division that occur during production of male gametes, as well as those of the female, the ova, involve both normal division, mitosis, and reduction division, meiosis.
A brief description of mitosis and meiosis is included in Chapter 2, page 68. A basic understanding of these processes is essential to understand the production of gametes in both the male and the female.
pended by the spermatic cords and tethered to the scrotum by scrotal ligaments, the remnants of the gubernaculum (see below).
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