Life Sciences Paper 1 Essays About Life

Gametogenesis is a process in which an organism makes gametes, the sex cells which are used in sexual reproduction. Each gamete contains half the genetic material of the parent organism (diploid to haploid). When it fuses with another gamete, it makes a complete set of DNA.

Gametogenesis occurs in both males and females. Female organisms produce eggs or oocytes in a process known as oogenesis, while male organisms make sperm in spermatogenesis.

In OOGENESIS:
Diploid cells in the ovary undergo meiosis
to form a primary follicle consisting of haploid cells.
One cell develops into an ovum contained in a Graafian follicle.

In SPERMATOGENESIS:
Diploid cells in the seminiferous tubules of the testes undergo meiosis
to form haploid sperm cells.

Both processes rely on meiosis, a cell division technique which ends with four cells containing half the DNA of the parent cell. Such cells are known as haploid, in contrast with their diploid parent cells which contain a complete set of DNA.

In the male, the process starts in the testes or gonads, the organs specifically used for gametogenesis. The cells in the testes split in two, making two smaller cells with half the DNA of the parent cell. Each of these daughter cells duplicates. At the end of meiosis, four haploid cells have been produced and these cells can mature into gametes and fertilise or be fertilised, depending on whether they are sperm or oocytes.

CROSSING OVER

o Homologous chromosomes pair up
o Each chromosome has 2 chromatids,
o The chromatids cross over. The points at which crossing over takes place are referred to as a chiasmata
o Genetic material is exchanged between non sister chromatids
o After the process of crossing over chromosomes have genes from its homologous partner
o This means that each gamete formed will have a mixture of genes from the paternal and maternal parents
o This brings about variation in the gametes formed and also to offspring

RANDOM ARRANGEMENT OF CHROMOSOMES AT THE EQUATOR
o Each pair of homologous chromosomes line up at the equator of the spindle independently of what the other pairs are doing- this is called independent assortment
o This means the gametes formed will have a different number of maternal and paternal chromosomes

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