Q:

What is a zygote?

A:

Quick Answer

A zygote is the result of the union of an ovum (egg cell) and a sperm cell. It remains a zygote until it begins to divide; at that point, the zygote becomes an embryo.

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What is a zygote?
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Full Answer

In multi-cellular organisms, a zygote is the first stage of development following conception. Unlike the ovum and sperm, which each contain half the number of chromosomes found in somatic cells, the zygote contains the full number of chromosomes normal in the somatic cells of the species. A zygote normally develops into a single embryo. If the daughter cells resulting from a zygote's division are split apart, each cell can develop into an embryo, resulting in monozygotic twins.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How does a zygote form?

    A:

    A zygote is formed when a male sperm cell and a female egg cell combine. This occurs during the end of the cell division process called meiosis.

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  • Q:

    Why can only one sperm fertilize an egg?

    A:

    According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, only one sperm normally fuses with an egg because if more than one sperm fuses, through a process called polyspermy, development of the zygote usually stops. In most cases, the egg cell blocks polyspermy.

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  • Q:

    What are diploid numbers and haploid numbers?

    A:

    Haploid numbers refer to the number of chromosomes in an egg or sperm cell, and it has the abbreviation "n." Diploid numbers refer to the number of chromosomes in other types of cells, such as the zygote that appears when the sperm cell fertilizes an egg, abbreviated "2n."

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  • Q:

    How do fish mate?

    A:

    The majority of fish reproduce by spawning, a process in which the female and male fish release eggs and sperm simultaneously in a protected environment with or without a complex courting ritual. Some spawners build nests to guard the fertilized eggs.

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