Contents 1 Defining characteristics 2 Etymology and usage 3 Mammalian female 4 Symbol 5 Sex determination 5.1 Genetic determination 5.2 Environmental determination 6 See also 7 Sources 8 References


Defining characteristics[edit] 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, or vice versa (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.[1] Patterns of sexual reproduction include Isogamous species with two or more mating types with gametes of identical form and behavior (but different at the molecular level), Anisogamous species with gametes of male and female types, Oogamous species, which include humans in which the female gamete is very much larger than the male and has no ability to move. Oogamy is a form of anisogamy. There is an argument that this pattern was driven by the physical constraints on the mechanisms by which two gametes get together as required for sexual reproduction.[2] 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 give rise to male and female plants.[citation needed]


Etymology and usage[edit] The word female comes from the Latin femella, the diminutive form of femina, meaning "woman". It is not etymologically related to the word male, but in the late 14th century the spelling was altered in English to parallel the spelling of male.[3]


Mammalian female[edit] Photograph of an adult female human, with an adult male for comparison. Note that both models have partially shaved body hair. A distinguishing characteristic of the class Mammalia is the presence of mammary glands. The mammary glands are modified sweat glands that produce milk, which is used to feed the young for some time after birth. Only mammals produce milk. Mammary glands are most obvious in humans, as the female human body stores large amounts of fatty tissue near the nipples, resulting in prominent breasts. Mammary glands are present in all mammals, although they are seldom used by the males of the species.[4] Most mammalian females have two copies of the X chromosome as opposed to the male which carries only one X and one smaller Y chromosome (but some mammals, such as the platypus, have different combinations). To compensate for the difference in size, one of the female's X chromosomes is randomly inactivated in each cell of placental mammals while the paternally derived X is inactivated in marsupials. In birds and some reptiles, by contrast, it is the female which is heterozygous and carries a Z and a W chromosome whilst the male carries two Z chromosomes. Intersex conditions can also give rise to other combinations, such as XO or XXX in mammals, which are still considered as female so long as they do not contain a Y chromosome, except for specific cases of testosterone deficiency/insensitivity in XY individuals while in the womb. However, these conditions frequently result in sterility.[citation needed] Mammalian females bear live young (with the rare exception of monotremes, which lay eggs). Some non-mammalian species, such as guppies, have analogous reproductive structures; and some other non-mammals, such as sharks, whose eggs hatch inside their bodies, also have the appearance of bearing live young.[citation needed]


Symbol[edit] A common symbol used to represent the female sex is ♀ (Unicode: U+2640 Alt codes: Alt+12), a circle with a small cross underneath. According to Schott,[5] the most established view is that the male and female symbols "are derived from contractions in Greek script of the Greek names of these planets, namely Thouros (Mars) and Phosphoros (Venus). These derivations have been traced by Renkama[6] who illustrated how Greek letters can be transformed into the graphic male and female symbols still recognised today." Thouros was abbreviated by θρ, and Phosphoros by Φ, both in the handwriting of alchemists so somewhat different from the Greek symbols we know. These abbreviations were contracted into the modern symbols.[citation needed]


Sex determination[edit] Main article: Sex-determination system The sex of a particular organism may be determined by a number of factors. These may be genetic or environmental, or may naturally change during the course of an organism's life. Although most species with male and female sexes have individuals that are either male or female, hermaphroditic animals have both male and female reproductive organs.[citation needed] Genetic determination[edit] The sex of most mammals, including humans, is genetically determined by the XY sex-determination system where males have X and Y (as opposed to X and X) sex chromosomes. During reproduction, the male contributes either an X sperm or a Y sperm, while the female always contributes an X egg. A Y sperm and an X egg produce a male, while an X sperm and an X egg produce a female. The ZW sex-determination system, where males have ZZ (as opposed to ZW) sex chromosomes, is found in birds, reptiles and some insects and other organisms. Members of Hymenoptera, such as ants and bees, are determined by haplodiploidy, where most males are haploid and females and some sterile males are diploid.[citation needed] Environmental determination[edit] The young of some species develop into one sex or the other depending on local environmental conditions, e.g. many crocodilians' sex is influenced by the temperature of their eggs. Other species (such as the goby) can transform, as adults, from one sex to the other in response to local reproductive conditions (such as a shortage of males).[citation needed]


See also[edit] Look up female in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Females. Male Dakini Feminine side Femininity Gestation Gender Woman Girl Lady Lactation Womyn


Sources[edit] Ayers, Donald M. English Words from Latin and Greek Elements. Second Edition. 1986. University of Arizona Press. United States.


References[edit] ^ Christopher Alan Anderson. "The Metaphysics of Sex ...in a Changing World!". Retrieved June 13, 2015. ^ Dusenbery, David B. (2009). Living at Micro Scale, Chapter 20. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. ISBN 978-0-674-03116-6. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary - Female (n.) Retrieved 2010-11-21 ^ Swaminathan, Nikhil. "Strange but True: Males Can Lactate". Scientific American.  ^ Schott GD. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll: Sex symbols ancient and modern: their origins and iconography on the pedigree.BMJ 2005;331:1509-1510 (24 December), doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7531.1509 ^ Renkema HW. Oorsprong, beteekenis en toepassing van de in de botanie gebuikelijke teekens ter aanduiding van het geslacht en den levensduur. In: Jeswiet J, ed. Gedenkboek J Valckenier Suringar. Wageningen: Nederlandsche Dendrologische Vereeniging, 1942: 96-108. v t e Sex Biological terms Sexual dimorphism Male Female Sexual differentiation Feminization Virilization Sex-determination system XY ZW XO Temperature-dependent Haplodiploidy Heterogametic sex Homogametic sex Sex chromosome X chromosome Y chromosome Testis-determining factor Hermaphrodite Sequential hermaphroditism Intersex Sexual reproduction Evolution of sexual reproduction Anisogamy Isogamy Germ cell Reproductive system Sex organ Meiosis Gametogenesis Spermatogenesis Oogenesis Gamete spermatozoon ovum Fertilization External Internal Sexual selection Plant reproduction Fungal reproduction Sexual reproduction in animals Sexual intercourse Human reproduction Sexuality Plant sexuality Animal sexuality Human sexuality Mechanics Differentiation Activity Sex portal Biology portal v t e Gender and sexual identities Gender identities Gender Man Woman Male Female Androgyne Bigender Boi Cisgender Cross-dresser Gender bender Genderqueer Gender neutrality Postgenderism Gender variance Pangender Transgender Trans man Trans woman Transmasculine Transfeminine Transsexual Trigender Third gender, third sex Akava'ine Bakla Bissu Calabai Eunuch Fa'afafine Fakaleiti Femminiello Galli Hijra Kathoey Khanith Köçek Koekchuch Māhū Maknyah Mukhannathun Muxe Nullo Sworn virgin Takatāpui Third gender Travesti Tumtum Two-Spirit Winkte Other Skoptsy Sexual orientation, identities Gender binary Asexual Bisexual Heterosexual Homosexual Non-binary Ambiphilia, Androphilia, Gynephilia Monosexuality Pansexuality Polysexuality Third gender Two-Spirit Social Antisexuality Monogamous Polyamorous Other Attraction to transgender people Banjee Bi-curious Ex-gay Ex-ex-gay Gay Gray asexuality Heteroflexible Lesbian Kinsey scale Non-heterosexual Queer Questioning Romantic orientation Same gender loving See also Disorders of sex development Ego-dystonic sexual orientation Erotic target location error Gender roles Hermaphrodite Human female sexuality Human male sexuality Intersex Sex and gender distinction Sex assignment Sex change Sex reassignment surgery Sexuality and gender identity-based cultures Social construction of gender The NeuroGenderings Network Violence against women and men (gendercide) Gender studies portal Sexuality portal LGBT portal Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Female&oldid=820827247" Categories: FemalesGenderSexWomenHidden categories: Wikipedia indefinitely move-protected pagesArticles needing additional references from December 2008All articles needing additional referencesWikipedia introduction cleanup from December 2015All pages needing cleanupArticles covered by WikiProject Wikify from December 2015All articles covered by WikiProject WikifyArticles with multiple maintenance issuesAll articles with unsourced statementsArticles with unsourced statements from March 2017Articles with unsourced statements from May 2014


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