Spermatogenesis is the process of formation of haploid male gametes or sperms or spermatozoa from male germ cells or spermatogonia.
Sperms are formed in the seminiferous tubules of testes, the male reproductive organ.
Spermatogenesis starts at puberty in males. It gives rise to mature male gametes, which can undergo fertilization with an ovum to form a zygote.
Spermatogenesis is important for maintaining the number of chromosomes in the offsprings.
Process of Spermatogenesis
Spermatogenesis is a process of gametogenesis in males. In females, oogenesis occurs to form a mature ovum.
- The male germinal cells or spermatogonia present in seminiferous tubules undergo proliferation by mitotic division.
- Some of the spermatogonia cells undergo meiotic division and are known as Primary spermatocytes (diploid, 2n=46).
- Secondary spermatocytes (haploid, n=23) are formed after the first meiotic division of primary spermatocytes.
- Secondary spermatocytes undergo second meiotic division forming four haploid spermatids.
- Spermiogenesis- the transformation of spermatids to mature sperms or spermatozoa.
- Spermiation- The process of release of mature sperms from seminiferous tubules.
Significance of Spermatogenesis
It is a necessary step in sexual reproduction. The mature sperms or spermatozoa are produced in the process. The haploid gametes formed in the gametogenesis process (a haploid sperm and ovum) fuse to form a diploid zygote.
The spermatogonial stem cells maintain the constant pool of cells by self-renewal.
Spermatogenesis is required to maintain the fixed number of chromosomes in the individuals of a species.
Sperms carry genetic information from one generation to the next generation. The spermatogonial stem cells can be used to preserve the genetic pool of endangered species.
Spermatogenesis is also required for variation in individuals of the same species.
Spermatogonial stem cells can become a pluripotent embryonic cell in-vitro and can be used for various medicinal purposes.
These stem cells can be used in infertility treatments.
Incorrect spermatogenesis may lead to chromosomal abnormalities. It can cause various congenital defects and may also lead to premature abortion.
In-vitro spermatogenesis, transplantation of spermatogonial stem cells and other related biotechnological advancements have great potential in overcoming reproductive issues in farm animals and clinical applications in humans.
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