Male Gamete in Plants: Definition & Concept

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  • 0:00 What Are Gametes?
  • 1:23 Angiosperms
  • 1:51 Non-Flowering Plants
  • 2:13 Less Complex Plants
  • 2:41 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jeremy Battista
Since plants can't move, they rely on pollen grains - transported by animals or the environment - for fertilization. The inside of this pollen grain - the male gamete - is the focus of this lesson.

What Are Gametes?

Gametes can be described as sex cells of plants. Like humans, plants have sperm and egg cells that need to fuse in order to produce a zygote, or fertilized egg. Unlike humans, however, plants produce both types of these cells.

Male and female gametes and their definition.

The ovary of the plant produces the female ovule, or egg cell. The male sperm cell is generally encased by some sort of enclosure, like a pollen grain. This allows the egg and sperm cells to stay moist and safe from destruction.

The complexity of the different types of gametes will be seen shortly. However, they do have some commonalities; for example, each contains a sperm cell or, in some cases, multiple sperm cells. These sperm cells are all formed by a specialized cell division and, in the case of vascular plants, are usually encased by some sort of protective shell that also contains nutrients for the cell.

Different Types of Gametes

Remember, meiosis is a type of cell division that specializes in making haploid, or half chromosome, sex cells. In plants, there are actually two meiotic divisions; this way, you get haploid cells from the male and haploid cells from the female, forming a diploid, or full chromosome set, for the new offspring. So, we see two meiotic divisions before the gamete is fully formed.

Which plant you're looking at determines what types of gametes form. In flowering plants, or angiosperms, you typically see the male gamete form inside the pollen grain located on the anther.

Those male gametes that form in the anther start off as just a bunch of large nucleus-containing cells. These cells go through meiotic divisions, forming what are called tetrads, or four haploid (half chromosome) bundles of gametes. These will become pollen grains. Obviously, the more grains there are, the more chances for reproduction we have.

These are two examples of pollen grains. The source will determine what the grain looks like.
Pollen Grains

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