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Category: Special Populations

Topic: Fundamentals of Reproduction

Level: Paramedic

Next Unit: The Placenta and Umbilical Cord

10 minute read

Common Reproductive System Terms

Diploid - A diploid is defined as a cell or organism consisting of two sets of chromosomes, one from each parent.

Haploid - A haploid is defined as a cell that has one set of chromosomes, and when combined with another haploid cell of the opposite sex, creates a diploid.

Gamete - A gamete is defined as a mature haploid male or female germ cell that is able to unite with another of the opposite sex in sexual reproduction to form a zygote (fertilized ovum).

Endometrium - The endometrium is defined as the mucous membrane lining the uterus, which thickens during the menstrual cycle in preparation for the possible implantation of an embryo, and when that doesn't occur, sloughs as debris (during the menses, or "period").

Genetic disease - A genetic disease is defined as a problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome (haploid set of chromosomes in a gamete), especially a disease that is present from birth or congenital.

Homologous chromosomes - Homologous chromosomes are defined as one of a pair of chromosomes that have the same gene sequence as another, each derived from one parent.

Autosomes - Autosomes are defined as any chromosomes that are not involved in sex determination.

Sex chromosomes - Sex chromosomes are defined as chromosomes involved with the determination of the sex of an organism, usually male or female.

Genes - Genes are defined as a distinct sequence of nucleotides forming part of a chromosome, the order of which determines the order of monomers in a polypeptide or nucleic acid molecule which a cell may synthesize. Gene can also be used informally to describe a unit of heredity that is transferred from a parent to offspring and is said to determine some characteristic of the offspring.

Allele - Alleles are defined as one of two or more alternative forms of a gene that arise by mutation and are found at the same place on a chromosome.

Genotype - Genotype is defined as the genetic constitution of an individual organism.

Phenotype - Phenotype is defined as the set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype with the environment.

Homozygous - Homozygous is defined as a particular gene that has identical alleles on both homologous chromosomes. It is referred to by two capital letters (XX) for a dominant trait, and two lower case letters (xx) for a recessive trait.

Heterozygous - Heterozygous is defined as a pair of genes where one is dominant and the other is recessive. It is referred to by one capital letter and one lowercase letter (Xy) or (Yx) with the capital letter being the dominant trait.

Mutation - a change in the genome (genotype) involving genes or entire chromosomes that affects the function or phenotype of offspring in reproduction. Although mutation drives evolution, almost all mutations are either fatal or deleterious to the offspring.

Fatal mutation - a mutation that is incompatible with life.

Abortion - miscarriage of a fetus due to genetic disease.

Zygote - a fertilized ovum.

In vitro fertilization - (IVF) - ferilization of an ovum outside of the body and reimplantation of the zygote into the uterus of a woman. Often, multiple zygotes are implanted, assuming not all of them will implant successfully.

Fetal reduction - controversial procedure wherein one or more fetuses are aborted to reduce the number of fetuses total; this is after more implantations are successful in IVF than what were expected or what are dangerous to the pregnancy.

Abnormalities of Menstruation:

  • Dysmenorrhea: painful menses (period).
  • Amenorrhea: absence of periods, usually associated with pregnancy, menopause, or hormone imbalance.
  • Menorrhagia: heavy, painful menses.
  • Hypermenorrhea: heavy bleeding with menses.
  • Oligomenorrhea: menses that recur according to prolonged intervals (longer than 6 weeks), implying dysfunction of the whole cycle.