The key difference between male and female gametophyte depends on the type of cell which produces the two structures. Microspores produce the male gametophyte while macrospores produce the female gametophyte.
Male and female gametophytes arise from hetero spores. They give rise to the sexual reproduction cycle in algae and plants. However, these organisms also show alternation of generations between the sporophytic and the gametophytic generation. Male and female gametophytes produce their respective male and female gametes that are necessary for sexual reproduction. When two gametes fuse with each other, a diploid cell known as zygote forms and continues into sporophytic generation.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Male Gametophyte
3. What is Female Gametophyte
4. Similarities Between Male and Female Gametophyte
5. Side by Side Comparison – Male vs Female Gametophyte in Tabular Form
What is Male Gametophyte?
The structure that produces the male gamete cells is the male gametophyte. The microspore gives rise to the male gametophyte via formation of the microsporangium. The male gametophyte is also called antheridium. In gymnosperms where the main reproductive structure is the flower, the male gametophyte occurs in the pollen grains.
The male gametophyte found in plants and algae produces male reproductive cells that are usually motile and flagellated. These reproductive cells leave the gametophyte and undergo fertilization with the female gamete. The male gametes produced by the male gametophyte perform external fertilization in algae and requires an aquatic medium. In contrast, the male gametes produced from the male gametophyte of gymnosperms undergo internal fertilization inside the female gametophyte or the ovary.
What is Female Gametophyte?
The female gametophyte is the structure that produces female gamete cells in algae and plants. The female gametophyte arises from the megaspore via the formation of the megasporangium. Moreover, the female gametophyte undergoes meiosis to produce four haploid cells. One cell develops into the megaspore, which can give rise to the gametophyte.
In angiosperms, the female gamete produced by the female gametophyte undergoes triple fusion. The egg cell fuses with the male gamete to form the zygote. Moreover, the germ cell nucleus fuses with the two polar nuclei to form the triploid nucleus that develops into the endosperm.
The female gametophyte produces non- motile or less motile female gametes in both algae and plants. Therefore, female gametes are usually non-flagellated.
What are the Similarities Between Male and Female Gametophyte?
- Heterosporous plants produce both male and female gametophytes.
- Both algae and plants show these structures, which give rise to the phenomenon of alternation of generations.
- They represent the gametophyte generation of plants and algae.
- Moreover, both are derived from their respective spores.
- Furthermore, they produce gametes that are capable of undergoing sexual reproduction.
What is the Difference Between Male and Female Gametophyte?
The key difference between male and female gametophyte is about the derivation of the gametophytes. The microspore gives rise to the male gametophytes while the megaspore gives rise to the female gametophyte. Also, the origin of the male gametophyte is the microsporangium, whereas the origin of the female gametophyte is the megasporangium. So, we can consider this too as a difference between male and female gametophyte.
The below infographic summarizes the difference between male and female gametophyte.
Summary – Male vs Female Gametophyte
Male gametophyte and female gametophyte represent the gametophytic generation or the haploid generation of plants and in some algae. The male gametophyte gives rise to male gametes while the female gametophyte gives rise to female gametes. The key difference between male and female gametophyte depends on the derivation of each gametophyte. The male gametophyte derives from the microspore while the female gametophyte derives from the megaspore. Thus, both produce gametes that will undergo fertilization to produce new organisms in the mode of sexual reproduction.
1. Skinner, Debra J, and Venkatesan Sundaresan. “Recent Advances in Understanding Female Gametophyte Development.” F1000Research, F1000 Research Limited, 20 June 2018, Available here.