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FEMALE (♀) is the sex of an organism , or a part of an organism, that produces non-mobile ova (egg cells). Barring rare medical conditions, most female mammals , including female humans , have two X chromosomes .

CONTENTS

* 1 Defining characteristics * 2 Etymology and usage * 3 Mammalian female * 4 Symbol

* 5 Sex
Sex
determination

* 5.1 Genetic determination * 5.2 Environmental determination

* 6 See also * 7 Sources * 8 References

DEFINING CHARACTERISTICS

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 . 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 .

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 .

ETYMOLOGY AND USAGE

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.

MAMMALIAN FEMALE

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 vestigial in the male of the species.

Most mammalian females have two copies of the X chromosome
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
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. However, these conditions frequently result in sterility.

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.

SYMBOL

A common symbol used to represent the female sex is ♀ ( Unicode
Unicode
: U+2640 Alt codes : Alt+12), a circle with a small cross underneath. According to Schott, 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 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.

SEX DETERMINATION

Main article: Sex-determination system
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.

GENETIC DETERMINATION

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 .

ENVIRONMENTAL DETERMINATION

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).

SEE ALSO

Look up FEMALE in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikimedia Commons has media related to FEMALES .

* Dakini
Dakini
* Feminine side * Femininity * Gestation * Girl
Girl
* Lactation * Womyn

SOURCES

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

REFERENCES

* ^ Christopher Alan Anderson. "The Metaphysics of Sex
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
Female
(n.) Retrieved 2010-11-21 * ^ Schott GD. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll: Sex
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
Sex

BIOLOGICAL TERMS

* Sexual dimorphism
Sexual dimorphism

* Male
Male
* Female

* Sexual differentiation

* Feminization * Virilization

* Sex-determination system
Sex-determination system

* XY * ZW * XO * Temperature-dependent * Haplodiploidy

* Sex
Sex
chromosome

* X chromosome
X chromosome
* Y chromosome

* Testis determining factor

* Hermaphrodite

* Sequential hermaphroditism

* Intersex
Intersex

SEXUAL REPRODUCTION

* Evolution
Evolution
of sexual reproduction

* Anisogamy
Anisogamy
* Isogamy
Isogamy

* Germ cell * Reproductive system
Reproductive system
* Sex
Sex
organ * Meiosis
Meiosis

* Gametogenesis

* Spermatogenesis * Oogenesis

* Gamete
Gamete

* spermatozoon * ovum

* Fertilization

* External * Internal

* Sexual selection * Plant
Plant
reproduction * Fungal reproduction

* Sexual reproduction in animals

* Sexual intercourse * Human
Human
reproduction

SEXUALITY

* Plant
Plant
sexuality * Animal sexuality

* Human
Human
sexuality

* Mechanics * Differentiation * Activity

* v * t * e

Gender
Gender
and sexual identities

GENDER IDENTITIES

GENDER

* Man
Man
* Woman
Woman
* Male
Male
* Female * Androgyne * Bigender * Boi * Cisgender
Cisgender
* Cross-dresser * Gender
Gender
bender * Genderqueer * Gender
Gender
neutrality * Postgenderism * Gender
Gender
variance * Pangender * Transgender
Transgender
* Trans man * Trans woman * Transmasculine * Transfeminine * Transsexual * Trigender

Third sex / Third gender

* Akava\'ine * Bakla * Bissu * Calabai * Eunuch * Fa\'afafine * Fakaleiti * Femminiello * Galli
Galli
* Hijra * Kathoey
Kathoey
* Khanith
Khanith
* Köçek * Koekchuch * Māhū * Maknyah * Mukhannathun * Muxe * Nullo * Sworn virgin * Takatāpui * Third gender * Travesti * Tumtum * Two-Spirit * Winkte

OTHER

* Skoptsy

Sexual orientation
Sexual orientation
identities

GENDER BINARY

* Asexual * Bisexual * Heterosexual * Homosexual

NON-BINARY

* Ambiphilia, Androphilia, Gynephilia * Pansexuality * Polysexuality * Third gender * Two-Spirit

OTHER

* Antisexuality * Attraction to transgender people
Attraction to transgender people
* Banjee * Bi-curious * Ex-gay * Ex-ex-gay
Ex-ex-gay
* Gay
Gay
* Gray asexuality
Gray asexuality
* Heteroflexible * Lesbian
Lesbian
* Kinsey scale
Kinsey scale
* Monosexuality * Non-heterosexual * Queer
Queer
* Questioning * Polyamorous * Romantic orientation * Same gender loving

SEE ALSO

* Disorders of sex development * Ego-dystonic sexual orientation * Erotic target location error * Gender
Gender
roles * Gender
Gender
of rearing * Hermaphrodite * Human
Human
female sexuality * Human
Human
male sexuality * Intersex
Intersex
* Sex
Sex
and gender distinction * Sex
Sex
assignment * Sex
Sex
change * Sex