Difference Between Gametophyte and Sporophyte

Main Difference

The main difference between the Gametophyte and the Sporophyte is that Gametophyte is the haploid phase of the plant’s life cycle whereas Sporophyte is the diploid phase of the life cycle of the plant.

Gametophyte vs. Sporophyte

There are different types of plants that exist on this earth. They have a complex life cycle in which all these types show alternation of generation. This alternation of generation shows haploid and diploid phases that alternate with each other. These phases are known as gametophyte and sporophyte, and both are multicellular structures. The gametophyte is a haploid phase in which haploid male and female gametes are produced whereas; sporophyte is a diploid phase in which diploid spores are produced. So, the gametophyte is known as the sexual phase during sporophyte as the asexual phase of the plant’s life. In gametophyte, gametes are produced by meiosis. These haploid male and female gametes fuse with each other to form a diploid zygote that develops into a sporophyte. Sporophyte than produces spores through mitosis that develop into gametophytes. So, in this way, these two generations alternate with each other. It shows that a plant generates two different types of plants with the same genetic material. Algae and bryophytes show a dominant gametophytic stage; on the other hand, pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and angiosperms show a dominant sporophyte generation.

Comparison Chart

GametophyteSporophyte
A multicellular generation in the life cycle of a plant in which it forms gametes directly from its cells is known as a gametophyte.A multicellular generation in the life cycle of a plant in which it forms spores is known as the sporophyte.
Phase
The gametophyte is a sexual phase of a plant’s life cycle.The sporophyte is an asexual phase of a plant’s life cycle.
Products
Gametophyte forms male and female gametes.Sporophyte forms spores, i.e. microspores and megaspores.
Production
It is produced by meiosis.It is produced by mitosis.
Development
A gametophyte is developed through the germination of a meiospore.The sporophyte is developed through the zygote.
Generated By
The gametophyte is generated by the sporophyte.The sporophyte is generated by the gametophyte.
No. of Chromosomes
The gametophyte is a haploid generation, i.e. it has half number of chromosomes.The sporophyte is a diploid generation, i.e. it has two chromosome sets.
Bryophytes
The gametophyte is dominant in bryophytes and is independent.The sporophyte is dependent on the gametophyte.
In Pteridophytes and Higher Plants
The gametophyte is reduced in pteridophytes and higher plants.The sporophyte is dominant in pteridophytes and higher plants.

What is Gametophyte?

A gametophyte is the multicellular, haploid plant that is formed during the alteration of generations of plants and algae. It is developed through the germination of a meiospore. Gametophyte consists of the archegonium, i.e. a female sex organ, and the antheridium or male sex organ. Female gamete, i.e. an ovum or egg is produced in antheridium, on the other hand, male gamete, i.e. sperm is produced in archegonium. These two gametes fertilized in the archegonium to form a diploid zygote cell. That zygote than develops again into a sporophyte generation. The gametophyte is dominant in bryophytes and algae. Some bryophytes like liverworts etc. develop female and male gametophytes separately by the germination of megaspores and microspores respectively. In ferns, the gametophyte is not the prominent form of the plant body, but it is also independent of its sporophyte. The gametophyte is reduced into the microscopic level in pteridophytes and seed plants.

What is Sporophyte?

A sporophyte is a multicellular, diploid plant that is formed during the alternation of generation in plants and algae. It is developed through the zygote. Sporophyte has sporangium where meiosis occurs to form haploid spores, i.e. megaspores and microspores. These spores are haploid cells that develop into haploid gametophytes. Megaspores develop into female gametophytes whereas; microspores develop into male gametophytes. These spores consist of one cell that can change into another new plant without mating. During evolution, the sporophytic stage has become dominant over the gametophytic stage. The most primitive non-vascular plants, i.e. bryophytes consist of a sporophyte generation that completely depends on its gametophytic generation. But, in pteridophytes and higher plants, i.e. gymnosperms, and angiosperms, the sporophyte is the dominant form. The dominant sporophyte is differentiated into stem, root, and leaves.

Key Differences

  1. A multicellular generation in the life cycle of a plant in which it forms gametes directly from its cells is known as gametophyte whereas, a multicellular generation in the life cycle of a plant in which it forms spores is known as the sporophyte.
  2. The gametophyte is a sexual phase of a plant’s life cycle; on the other hand, the sporophyte is an asexual phase of a plant’s life cycle.
  3. Gametophyte forms male and female gametes. Conversely, Sporophyte forms spores, i.e., microspores and megaspores.
  4. The gametophyte is produced by meiosis while; sporophyte is produced by mitosis.
  5. A gametophyte is developed through the germination of a meiospore on the flip side; the sporophyte is developed through the zygote.
  6. The gametophyte is generated by the sporophyte; on the other hand, the sporophyte is generated by the gametophyte, i.e. they show alternation of generation.
  7. The gametophyte is a haploid generation, i.e. it has half number of chromosomes whereas, the sporophyte is a diploid generation, i.e. it has two chromosome sets.
  8. The gametophyte is dominant in bryophytes and is an independent while; sporophyte is dependent on the gametophyte.
  9. The gametophyte is reduced in pteridophytes and higher plants on the other side, the sporophyte is dominant in pteridophytes and higher plants.

Comparison Video

YouTube video

Conclusion

Above discussion summarizes that gametophyte and sporophyte are the two phases of alteration of the generation that occur in plants and algae. The gametophyte is considered as a sexual, haploid phase that produces male and female gametes whereas, the sporophyte is considered as an asexual, diploid phase in which spores are produced. These two generations alternate with each other in the life cycle of a plant.

Janet White

Janet White is a writer and blogger for Difference Wiki since 2015. She has a master's degree in science and medical journalism from Boston University. Apart from work, she enjoys exercising, reading, and spending time with her friends and family. Connect with her on Twitter @Janet__White

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