In Vitro Fertilization and its Uses in Animals and Man
Fertilization is the process in which spermatozoon and ovum come together and unite to form a zygote. Initially, the sperm cell penetrates through the surrounding cellular investments, the zona pellucida, and into the vitellus of the ovum. Fertilization proceeds as the sperm head enlarges to form the male pronucleus and, following activation of the ovum, the female chromatin condenses to form the female pronucleus. Ovum activation denotes the resumption of meiosis which proceeds from metaphase II to completion. Male and female pronuclei develop and come into apposition, pronuclear membranes break down, and the chromosomes from male and female gametes intermix. Mitosis begins and fertilization is concluded with the first mitotic metaphase which is rapidly followed by cleavage into a two-cell embryo. Fertilization takes approximately 12 hours in the rabbit and roughly twice that in large domestic animals including (wo)man.
KeywordsSperm Cell Zona Pellucida Ovarian Follicle Acrosome Reaction Female Reproductive Tract
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