Difference between Gametophyte and Sporophyte

Gametophyte: It is a multi cellular structure or generation in life cycle of a plant which is capable of forming gametes directly from its cells. The cells of gametophyte are always haploid or have single genomes or one set of chromosomes.

Sporophyte: It is a multicellular structure or generation in the life cycle of a plant which possess diploid cells or cells which two genomes or two sets of chromosomes. It produces haploid spores or meiospores through the process of meiosis in its diploid cells.
Summary of alternation of diploid with haploid phases in Kingdom Plantae and Fungi
  • In Algae, the dominant phase is gametophyte (1n). Sporophytic and gametophytic stages are independent.
  • In Bryophytes, the dominant phase is free living thalloid gametophyte (1n). The gametophyte is thalloid in primitive forms (Riccia) and differentiated into stem, leaves and rhizoids in higher bryophytes (Mosses).
  • In Pteridophytes, the dominant phase is sporophyte (2n). The gametophyte is called prothallus. The gametophyte is small and is usually independent. Meiospores are formed inside sporangia.
  • In Gymnosperm, the dominant phase is sporophyte (2n).The gametophyte generation is reduced and dependent upon sporophyte generation.
  • A typical angiosperm plant is sporophytic (2n) and has both vegetative (root, stem, leaves) and reproductive parts.The male gametophyte develops inside the pollen grain. The female gametophyte is called as embryo sac which develops inside the ovule.
Gametophyte vs Sporophyte
Gametophyte
Sporophyte
It is the haploid (n) phase in the life cycle
It is the diploid (2n) phase in the life cycle.
It forms gametes.
It forms spores.
The gametes are formed either directly or through mitosis.
The spores are formed after meiosis.
Gametes take part in fertilization or fusion forming diploid (2n) zygote.
The diploid spore mother cell undergo meiosis to form haploid (n) Meiospores.
Growth of zygote produces the sporophyte.
Growth of meiospore produces the gametophyte.
The cells possess a single genome or one set of chromosomes.
The cells possess two genomes or two sets of chromosomes.
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