- seminiferous tubules
- interstitial cells
A spermatocyte is a male gametocyte, derived from a spermatogonium, which is in the developmental stage of spermatogenesis during which meiosis occurs. It is located in the seminiferous tubules of the testis.
Seminiferous tubules are located in the testes, and are the specific location of meiosis, and the subsequent creation of gametes, namely spermatozoa.
The epithelium of the tubule consists of sustentacular or Sertoli cells, which are tall, columnar type cells that line the tubule.
In between the Sertoli cells are spermatogenic cells, which differentiate through meiosis to sperm cells.
There are two types: convoluted and straight, convoluted toward the lateral side, and straight as the tubule comes medially to form ducts that will exit the testis.
The seminiferous tubules are formed from primitive sex cords. It is the medullary cords which develop into the seminiferous tubules and the cortical cords regress. The cords were formed from the gonadal ridge.
A spermatozoon (alternate spellings spermatozoan, spermatozoön; plural spermatozoa) is a motile sperm cell, or moving form of the haploid cell that is the male gamete. (A non-motile sperm cell is called a spermatium.) A spermatozoon joins an ovum to form a zygote. (A zygote is a single cell, with a complete set of chromosomes, that normally develops into an embryo.) The term spermatozoon comes from the ancient Greek word σπέρμα (seed) and ζῷον (living being).
Sperm cells contribute approximately half of the nuclear genetic information to the diploid offspring. In mammals, the sex of the offspring is determined by the sperm cell: a spermatozoon bearing a Y-chromosome will lead to a male (XY) offspring, while one bearing an X-chromosome will lead to a female (XX) offspring (the ovum always provides an X-chromosome). Sperm cells were first observed by Anton van Leeuwenhoek in 1677.
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