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Definition of gametophyte

Categorized under "General"

Definition as written by Monocromatico:

All members of the Plant Kingdom (Green, Brown and Red Algae, and terrestrial plants) have their life cycle divided into two interchangeable phases: the gametophytic generation and sporophytic generation.

The gametophytes are haploid plants, generated by the germination of spores, and are the generation responsible for the sexual reproduction, by producing male and female cells. Because the most primitive plants have sperm-like gamets, the gametophytes usually need water to bring the swimming male gamet to the female one.

The morphology of the gametophyte vary in all major groups of plants, and the reduction of the gametophyte is associated with the evolutionary level of each group.

In some Algae, gametophytes and sporophytes are quite similar and independant, although in Brown and a few Green algae they may have differences.
In Bryophytes, the gametophyte is the vegetative part of mosses and liverworths and the dominant phase of their life cycle, and work as hosters for the reduced sporophytes.
In Pteridophytes, the gametophyte is reduced to a small and ephemeral green structure that decays after the sporophyte gets well stabilished.
In Gymnosperms and Angiosperms, the gametophyte are extremely reduced to a few cells, forming the pollen grains and ovules.

For more information, see "gamets", "haploid", "sporophyte", and check out the deffinition of all the major groups of plants.

Definition as written by Margiempv:

The haploid (1n) gamete-producing phase in the alternation of generations.


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