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fertilization, in biology, process in the reproduction of both plants and animals, involving the union of two unlike sex cells (gametes), the sperm and the ovum, followed by the joining of their nuclei. In the flowers of higher plants, the process occurs after pollination has enabled the sperm to contact the egg cell in the plant's ovary. In lower plants and in animals the sperm is actively motile and swims to the egg through an external aqueous medium or through a fluid environment within the reproductive tract of the female. The fundamental principle of fertilization is the same in all organisms. The first sperm to establish successful contact is absorbed by the ovum and the two nuclei unite, thus combining the hereditary material of both parents (see genetics). In higher forms, the sperm contact initiates cell division in the fertilized egg (zygote), and the subsequent embryo develops into a new individual. Cross-fertilization indicates fusion of a sperm of one hermaphroditic plant or animal with an ovum of another, as distinguished from self-fertilization, in which ovum and sperm of the same individual are fused.

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[′krȯs ‚fərd·əl·ə′zā·shən]
Fertilization between two separate plants.
Fertilization between different kinds of individuals.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Obviously, the editors compiled this edition to underscore arguments put forth by Paul Gilroy, who contends that African diasporic cultures cross-fertilize each other and create cultures which are not nationally unique but rather macaronic in nature.
Why this topology should depend on any assumption regarding gain and loss of the ability to cross-fertilize is entirely unclear.
Across the globe, companies like RDF Intl., which sold "Junkyard Wars" to TLC and "Banzai" to USA Networks, are continuing to cross-fertilize ideas and techniques from other genres.
"We're hoping to cross-fertilize our dealer bases," said Mike Turnbull, vice president of marketing for the Atlanta Market Center.