A “zygote” is a term used in biology to refer to the initial cell that results from the fusion of two gamete cells (sperm and egg) during fertilization. It marks the beginning of a new individual’s development. The zygote contains a full set of genetic information from both parents and undergoes cell division to form an embryo.
The term “zygote” comes from the Greek word “zygotos,” which means “yoked” or “joined.” It reflects the concept of two gametes (sperm and egg) coming together to form a single, united cell.
- Fertilized egg
Upon fertilization, the human zygote forms when a sperm cell successfully penetrates an egg cell. This single cell then begins to divide and develop into a multicellular embryo, eventually leading to the formation of a fully developed human being.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is the role of a zygote in embryonic development?
The zygote marks the outset of embryonic progression. It undergoes rapid cell divisions through mitosis, forming a blastocyst, which eventually implants into the uterine lining to continue development.
When does fertilization occur to create a zygote?
Fertilization typically occurs in the fallopian tube shortly after ovulation when a sperm cell successfully penetrates the egg cell’s protective layers.
Can a zygote develop into a complete organism on its own?
No, a zygote cannot develop into a complete organism on its own. It requires further cell divisions and development within a suitable environment, such as the uterus, to form a complete individual.
How does genetic information from both parents contribute to the zygote?
The zygote contains a combination of genetic material from both parents. The sperm cell contributes its set of chromosomes, and the egg cell contributes its set, resulting in a full set of chromosomes that determine the genetic traits of the developing embryo.
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