Fusion of male and female sex cells (gametes) produced by the same individual. This type of fertilization occurs in bisexual organisms, including most flowering plants, numerous protozoans, and many invertebrates. Many organisms capable of self-fertilization can also reproduce by means of cross-fertilization. As an evolutionary mechanism, self-fertilization allows an isolated individual to create a local population and stabilizes desirable genetic strains, but it fails to provide a significant degree of variability within a population and thereby limits the possibilities for adaptation to environmental change.
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Procedure, used to overcome infertility, in which eggs are removed from a woman, fertilized with sperm outside the body, and inserted into the uterus of the same or another woman. The first child thus conceived was born in 1978. IVF includes extraction of eggs, collection of sperm, fertilization in culture, and introduction into the uterus at the eight-cell stage. In a successful procedure, the embryo is implanted in the uterine wall, and pregnancy begins. The most common problem is failed implantation. IVF has been a source of moral, ethical, and religious controversy since its development.
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Fertilization of a human egg. (1) The sperm release enzymes that help disperse the corona radiata elipsis
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Fusion of male and female sex cells from different individuals of the same species. Cross-fertilization is necessary in animal and plant species that have male and female organs on separate individuals. Methods of cross-fertilization are diverse in animals. Among most species that breed in water, the males and females shed their sex cells into the water, where fertilization takes place outside the body. Among land breeders, fertilization is internal, with the sperm being introduced into the body of the female. By recombining genetic material from two parents, cross-fertilization maintains a greater range of variability for natural selection to act on, thereby increasing the capacity of a species to adapt to environmental change. Seealso self-fertilization.
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