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A male (♂) organism is the physiological sex which produces sperm, and in most mammals typically has a y chromosome. Each spermatozoon can fuse with a larger female gamete or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot reproduce sexually without access to at least one ovum from a female, but some organisms can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Most mammal and human males have a Y chromosome, which produces testosterone to develop male reproductive organs.
Not all species share a common sex-determination system. In most animals including humans, sex is determined genetically, but in some species it can be determined due to social, environmental or other factors.
The existence of two sexes seems to have been selected independently across different evolutionary lineages (see Convergent Evolution). The repeated pattern is sexual reproduction in isogamous species with two or more mating types with gametes of identical form and behavior (but different at the molecular level) to anisogamous species with gametes of male and female types to oogamous species in which the female gamete is very much larger than the male and has no ability to move. There is a good argument that
Female (♀) is the sex of an organism, or a part of an organism, which produces non-mobile ova (egg cells). Most mammal and human females have two x chromosomes.
The ova are defined as the larger gametes in a heterogamous reproduction system, while the smaller, usually motile gamete, the spermatozoon, is produced by the male. A female individual cannot reproduce sexually without access to the gametes of a male (an exception is parthenogenesis). Some organisms can reproduce both sexually and asexually.
There is no single genetic mechanism behind sex differences in different species and the existence of two sexes seems to have evolved multiple times independently in different evolutionary lineages. Patterns of sexual reproduction include
Other than the defining difference in the type of gamete produced, differences between males and females in one lineage cannot always be predicted by differences in another. The concept is not limited to animals; egg cells are produced by chytrids, diatoms, water moulds and land plants, among others. In land plants, female and male designate not only the egg- and sperm-producing organisms and structures, but also the structures of the sporophytes that
The gender "other" is used on Freebase to represent people who are neither male nor female, or whose gender cannot readily be expressed by either of those terms. This may include transgendered and intersex people, for example.