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Micrograph shows human sperm, which have an oval head about 3 microns across and a very long flagellum.
As seen in this scanning electron micrograph, human sperm has a flagellum, neck, and head. (credit: scale-bar data from Matt Russell)

Sperm form in the walls of seminiferous tubules that are coiled inside the testes ( [link] ; [link] ). The walls of the seminiferous tubules are made up of the developing sperm cells, with the least developed sperm at the periphery of the tubule and the fully developed sperm next to the lumen. The sperm cells are associated with Sertoli cells that nourish and promote the development of the sperm. Other cells present between the walls of the tubules are the interstitial cells of Leydig , which produce testosterone once the male reaches adolescence.

When the sperm have developed flagella they leave the seminiferous tubules and enter the epididymis ( [link] ; [link] ). This structure lies along the top and posterior of the testes and is the site of sperm maturation. The sperm leave the epididymis and enter the vas deferens, which carries the sperm behind the bladder, and forms the ejaculatory duct with the duct from the seminal vesicles. During a vasectomy, a section of the vas deferens is removed, preventing sperm (but not the secretions of the accessory glands) from being passed out of the body during ejaculation and preventing fertilization.

The bulk of the semen comes from the accessory glands associated with the male reproductive system. These are the seminal vesicles , the prostate gland    , and the bulbourethral gland    ( [link] ; [link] ). The secretions from the accessory glands provide important compounds for the sperm including nutrients, electrolytes, and pH buffering. There are also coagulation factors that affect sperm delivery and motility.

Art connection

Illustration shows a cross section of the penis and testes. The penis widens at the end, into the glans, which is surrounded by the foreskin. The urethra is an opening that runs through the middle of the penis to the bladder. The tissue surrounding the urethra is the Corpus spongiosum, and above the Corpus spongiosum is the Corpus cavernosum. The testes, located immediately behind the penis, are covered by the scrotum. Seminiferous tubules are located in the testes. The epididymis partly surrounds the sac containing the seminiferous tubules. The Vas deferens is a tube connecting the seminiferous tubules to the ejaculatory duct, which begins in the prostate gland. The prostate gland is located behind and below the bladder. The seminal vesicle, located above the prostate, also connects to the seminal vesicle. The bulbourethral gland connects to the ejaculatory duct where the ejaculatory duct enters the penis.
The reproductive structures of the human male are shown.

Which of the following statements about the male reproductive system is false?

  1. The vas deferens carries sperm from the testes to the seminal vesicles.
  2. The ejaculatory duct joins the urethra.
  3. Both the prostate and the bulbourethral glands produce components of the semen.
  4. The prostate gland is located in the testes.
Male Reproductive Anatomy
Organ Location Function
Scrotum External Supports testes and regulates their temperature
Penis External Delivers urine, copulating organ
Testes Internal Produce sperm and male hormones
Seminal Vesicles Internal Contribute to semen production
Prostate Gland Internal Contributes to semen production
Bulbourethtral Glands Internal Neutralize urine in urethra

Female reproductive anatomy

A number of female reproductive structures are exterior to the body. These include the breasts and the vulva, which consists of the mons pubis, clitoris    , labia majora    , labia minora    , and the vestibular glands ( [link] ; [link] ).

Side and front views of female reproductive organs are shown. The vagina is wide at the bottom, and narrows into the cervix. Above the cervix is the uterus, which is shaped like a triangle pointing down. Fallopian tubes extend from the top sides of the uterus. The Fallopian tubes curve back in toward the uterus, and end in fingerlike appendages called fimbrae. The ovaries are located between the fimbrae and the uterus. The urethra is located in front of the vagina, and the rectum is located behind. The clitoris is a structure located in front of the urethra. The labia minora and labia majora are folds of tissue on either side of the vagina.
The reproductive structures of the human female are shown. (credit a: modification of work by Gray's Anatomy; credit b: modification of work by CDC)

The breasts consist of mammary glands and fat. Each gland consists of 15 to 25 lobes that have ducts that empty at the nipple and that supply the nursing child with nutrient- and antibody-rich milk to aid development and protect the child.

Questions & Answers

why do humans enhale oxygen and exhale carbondioxide?
Maryam Reply
why do humans enhale oxygen and exhale carbondioxide? For the purpose of breaking down the food
dil
what is allele
uzoka Reply
process of protein synthesis
SANTOSH Reply
what is cell
Zulf Reply
what is cytoplasm
uzoka Reply
cytoplasm is fluid of cell.
Deepak
how many major types of Cloning
Saeed Reply
two
amir
two
Zulf
comparative anatomy of gymnosperms?
Meenakshi Reply
anatomy of gymnosperms
Meenakshi
how genes are regulated
Ainjue Reply
what is storage of glycogen
Student Reply
glycogen is a protein content
Najeem
how many times breathing a day normally does a person have
Vernalyn Reply
100
Aadil
on average 18000 times a day when resting.
gagan
the -10 and -35 regions of prokaryotic promoters are called consensus sequences because
Michelle Reply
Oogenesis is the process that produces sperm
Kelly Reply
no... thats is egg production
uzoka
that is egg production
uzoka
what is the nephrons
Kalim Reply
what is the DNA and how to work
Kalim
nephrons are functional units of kidney.
gagan
a picture of a diktiosoom
Zandri Reply
How so you understand Darwin's theory when this is not what you believe?
Jessica Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Concepts of biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11487/1.9
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