What is Fertilization?

Fertilisation is also known as generative, insemination, pollination, fecundation, syngamy and impregnation, is the fusion of gametes to initiate the development of a new individual organism or offspring. This cycle of fertilisation and development of new individuals is called sexual reproduction. During double fertilisation in angiosperms the haploid male gamete combines with two haploid polar nuclei to form a triploid primary endosperm nucleus by the process of vegetative fertilisation.

The first significant event in fertilization is the fusion of the membranes of the two gametes, resulting in the formation of a channel that allows the passage of material from one cell to the other. Fertilization in advanced plants is preceded by pollination, during which pollen is transferred to, and establishes contact with, the female gamete or macrospore. Fusion in advanced animals is usually followed by penetration of the egg by a single spermatozoon. The result of fertilization is a cell (zygote) capable of undergoing cell division to form a new individual.
The fusion of two gametes initiates several reactions in the egg. One of these causes a change in the egg membrane(s), so that the attachment of and penetration by more than one spermatozoon cannot occur. In species in which more than one spermatozoon normally enters an egg , Only one spermatozoal nucleus actually merges with the egg nucleus. The most important result of fertilization is egg activation, which allows the egg to undergo cell division. Activation, however, does not necessarily require the intervention of a spermatozoon; during parthenogenesis, in which fertilization does not occur, activation of an egg may be accomplished through the intervention of physical and chemical agents. Invertebrates such as aphids, bees, and rotifers normally reproduce by parthenogenesis.

Fertilisation in plants

The gametes that participate in fertilisation of plants are the pollen (male), and the egg (female) cell. Various families of plants have differing methods by which the female gametophyte is fertilized. In Bryophyte land plants, fertilisation takes place within the archegonium. In flowering plants a second fertilisation event involves another sperm cell and the central cell which is a second female gamete. In flowering plants there are two sperm from each pollen grain. In seed plants, after pollination, a pollen grain germinates, and a pollen tube grows and penetrates the ovule through a tiny pore called a micropyle.The sperm are transferred from the pollen through the pollen tube to the ovule.