An organism's sex is female (symbol: ♀) if it produces the large non-motile ovum (egg cell), the type of gamete (sex cell) that fuses with the male gamete (sperm cell) during sexual reproduction.
A female has larger gametes than a male. Females and males are results of the anisogamous reproduction system, wherein gametes are of different sizes (unlike isogamy where they are the same size). The exact mechanism of female gamete evolution remains unknown.
In species that have males and females, sex-determination may be based on either sex chromosomes, or environmental conditions. Most female mammals, including female humans, have two X chromosomes. Female characteristics vary between different species, with some species having pronounced secondary female sex characteristics, such as the presence of pronounced mammary glands in mammals.
During sexual reproduction, each parent animal must form specialized cells known as gametes...In virtually all animals that reproduce sexually, the gametes occur in two morphologically distinct forms corresponding to male and female. These distinctions in form and structure are related to the specific functions of each gamete. The differences become apparent during the latter stages of spermatogenesis (for male gametes) and oogenesis (for female gametes)....After oogenetic meiosis, the morphological transformation of the female gamete generally includes development of a large oocyte that does not move around....The ambiguous term "egg" is often applied to oocytes and other fertilizable stages of female gametes....Spermatogenesis and oogenesis most often occur in different individual animals known as males and females respectively.
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