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Pronunciation: o'o-sit

Definition: Female gamete or sex cell. When fertilized by a sperm, an oocyte is capable of developing into a new individual of the same species; during matuation, the oocyte, like the sperm, undergoes a halving of its chromosomal complement so that, at its union with the male gamete, the species number of chromosome (46 in humans) is maintained; yolk contained in the oocytes of different animal species varies greatly in amount and distribution, which influences the pattern of the cleavage divisions.

Synonym(s): ovocyte

[G. oon, egg, + kytos, a hollow (cell)]

See Also: egg, ovum

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.