Definitions for gametophytegəˈmi təˌfaɪt, ˈgæm ɪ-
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the gamete-bearing individual or phase in the life cycle of a plant having alternation of generations
A plant (or the haploid phase in its life cycle) which produces gametes by mitosis in order to produce a zygote.
A gametophyte is a multicellular adult stage that forms in the alternation of generations life cycle of land plants and algae. It produces gametes and is typically haploid. It is produced from mitotic cell division of spores, which are produced by meiosis in sporophytes. Gametophytes produce male or female gametes, by a process of cell division called mitosis. The female and male gametes are also called, respectively, egg cells and sperm. The fusion of male and female gametes produces a diploid zygote, which develops by repeated mitotic cell divisions into a multicellular sporophyte. Because sporophytes are typically the product of the fusion of two haploid gametes, their cells are normally diploid, containing two sets of chromosomes. The mature sporophyte typically produces spores by a process called meiosis, in which the chromosome pairs are separated once again to form single sets. The spores are therefore once again haploid and develop into haploid gametophytes. In bryophytes, the gametophyte is the dominant form and thus the most familiar phase of the life cycle. The sporophytes are typically attached to and dependent on the long-lived gametophytes. Moss gametophytes originate from the germination of a spore. The initial phase of growth leads to a filament of cells. The mature gametophyte of mosses produces the gamete-producing structures, archegonia and antheridia. In gametophyte dominant organisms, such as bryophytes, specialized structures or even whole individual plants that produce gametes are sometimes called gametophores.
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