How Does Gamete Formation Differ in Male and Female Animals?

In animals, the two primary differences between the male and female gamete formation are the number of mature gametes produced during meiosis and the general occurrence in the body. Meiosis in males produces four daughter cells that all mature into sperm cells, while meiosis in females generates four daughter cells that only yield one mature egg cell, or ovum. Gamete production occurs on a daily basis in males, while gamete maturation in females occurs once a month.

Meiosis pertains to the process of producing four haploid cells, known as gametes, from a diploid parent cell. It is also referred to as gametogenesis. Meiosis can be classified based on the type of gametes formed. Spermatogenesis produces sperms and occurs in the reproductive organs of males called the testes. Oogenesis, meanwhile, produces egg cells and occurs in the female reproductive organs called ovaries. The four sperm cells generated during meiosis in males originate from a diploid spermatogonium. In females, the four daughter cells come from a primary oocyte. Three of the daughter cells become polar bodies and eventually break down and die, leaving only one egg cell to mature.

A pubescent male can produce millions, or even billions, of sperms at a time. This process takes place throughout the lifetime of males. In contrast, oogenesis begins even before the birth of the female. Maturation of the egg cells start at puberty and ends when the female reaches the menopausal stage.