haploid cell that fuses with another haploid cell during fertilization (conception) in organisms that sexually reproduce

A gamete[1] is a specialized sex cell that fuses with another gamete during fertilization (conception) in organisms that reproduce sexually. Gametes are produced by germ cells.

In species which produce two morphologically distinct types of gametes, and in which each individual produces only one type, a female is any individual which produces the larger type of gamete—called an ovum (or egg)—and a male produces the smaller type—called a spermatozoon (or sperm cell).

The name gamete was introduced by the Austrian biologist Gregor Mendel.


Gametogenesis is the development of diploid germ cells into haploid eggs or sperm, (respectively oogenesis and spermatogenesis). It is different for each species but the general stages are similar. The development of eggs (oogenesis) and sperm (spermatogenesis) have many features in common. They both involve:

They also have major differences, especially

  • Different timing of maturation: oogenic meiosis is interrupted at one or more stages (for a long time) while spermatogenic meiosis is rapid and uninterrupted.


  1. (from Ancient Greek γαμετης; translated gamete = wife, gametes = husband)