After the gametes come together, they must fuse with one another to form a diploid zygote, which is the genetically complete new animal in a unicellular (single-celled) form. Fertilization is not a single event; rather, it is a complex series of events in which both sperm and oocyte actively participate. It begins with simple recognition among the sperm and oocytes of a given species, and concludes with the fusion of the hap-

loid pronucleus of the sperm and the haploid pronucleus of the oocyte. Between these two events, there is considerable variation among the lower metazoans. In some cases, the oocytes have a covering that must be penetrated by the sperm. In most cases, the sperm must initiate the actual process of fusion of the cell membranes of the two gametes; however, it is the oocyte that generally is most active in directing the fusion and actually incorporating the sperm into its cytoplasm. The actual fusion of the two cells, known as syngamy, is accomplished largely by the oocyte. After syngamy occurs, pronuclear fusion may follow rapidly or be delayed up to several days, depending on the species. At this point, the new genetically unique and genetically complete animal, in the form of a single-celled zygote, is ready to complete the development of its body.

Essentials of Human Physiology

Essentials of Human Physiology

This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.

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