Textbook Explanation of Sexual Reproduction Example

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After reading the article by Martin, I had to open the textbook from my Genetics class and read how sexual reproduction was explained in it.

Text: Genetics by Robert J. Brooker

Male gametes, or sperm cells, are relatively small and usually travel far distances to reach the female gamete. The mobility of the male gamete is an important characteristic, making it likely that it will come in close proximity to the female gamete. Compared to sperm cells, the female gamete, known as the egg cell, or ovum, is usually very large and nonmotile. These gametes fuse with each other in the process of fertilization to begin the life of a new organism.

Do you think that there are hidden stereotypes within this explanation?

2 Comments

Thats a good question... when I look at it I could see it going either way. On one side they are explaining a lot more about how much work the sperm needs to do and then they throw in the female parts towards the end. I also think they could have used a better word than "nonmotile" for showing how this process takes place within the female ovum. But then again I am coming at it with a harsh lens of looking for these things and it is not really that significant compared to the articles that we read. Martin uses language that is a lot more "abusive" then this book. In conclusion I do not really think that it over amplifies these stereotypes of human beings as did the explanation that Martin discussed.

The imbalance in the size of the description is created by the second sentence, which is needed to explain why it's necessary for the sperm to be mobile. If the first and third sentences were switched, the same sentence would exist, but would start with a mention of the egg's immobility rather than the sperms mobility.

As for the word "non-motile", it is a technically accurate term, as, although the egg does move, it doesn't propel itself (it's propelled by cilia in the fallopian tubes, if I recall correctly). If you're not satisfied by that word, you probably won't be satisfied by anything that doesn't either purposefully leave out information, or reports what goes on inaccurately.

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