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Parthenogenesis and Gametophytes

  1. May 26, 2007 #1


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    So I'm reading Schrodinger's "What is Life", which is very interesting. He says that male drone bees can be considered to be oversized sperm, a phrase that greatly intrigued me. Genetically, there is no distinction between the genes of a sperm cell and those of a male drone bee (although the drone bee has lots of sperm cells, each of which have different genetic material? - is this necessarily the case?)

    Now, are these male drone bees gametophytes? (just like mosses?)

    And what of other animals that reproduce through parthenogenesis? They are probably diploid animals though - so they still can be considered sporophytes. Is this correct?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2007 #2


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    Ok, so why then can not a queen be considered an egg?
  4. May 29, 2007 #3


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    The terms sporophyte and gametophyte are reserved for fungi and plants and do not apply to animals.
  5. May 29, 2007 #4


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    But aren't they technically the same for animals? The only difference between sporophytes and gametophytes is that whereas gametophyte cells are haploids, sporophyte cells are diploid. Technically, flowering plants are dominated by a sporophyte phase - even though their small reproductive structures are gametophytes. The same applies for animals. Analogously, then, most animals are similar to angiosperms.

    "In the alteration of generations, a gametophyte is the structure, or phase of life, that contains only half of the total complement of chromosomes:"

    On the other hand, though, gametes are not gametophytes. It seems that the sporophyte/gametophyte distinction applies only on the level of the organism, not the level of the cell. It is unnecessary to apply this distinction to animals anyways - since haploid and diploid are sufficiently adequate enough to explain the distinction between, say, drone male bees and non-drone male bees.


    Also, the logic would not apply to queen bees - male bees actually come out of unfertilized eggs and consequently have different Hamiltonian coefficients than the Hamiltonian coefficients of queen bees.
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