fertilization fer·til·i·za·tion (fûr'tl-ĭ-zā'shən)
The union of male and female gametes to form a zygote, a process that begins with the penetration of the secondary oocyte by the spermatozoon and is completed with the fusion of the male and female pronuclei.
|fertilization (fûr'tl-ĭ-zā'shən) Pronunciation Key
The joining of sex cells to form a new living thing. In humans, a male sperm joins a female ovum, or egg; the resulting zygote divides into a multicelled structure that implants in the womb and grows into an embryo. In plants, pollen grains, containing the male sex cells, enter the female sex cells in the pistil; from this union, fruit eventually grows. When fertilization occurs within a single flower, we call it self-fertilization. (See cross-fertilization.)