GRE Subject Test: Biology : Reproductive System

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Biology

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Example Questions

Example Question #71 : Animal Biology

What is the purpose of the prostate gland in males?

Possible Answers:

Store sperm

Release hormones to create sperm

Produce sperm

Add to the fluidity of semen

Correct answer:

Add to the fluidity of semen

Explanation:

The prostate gland is used to release fluid that adds to the fluidity of semen, and makes the semen alkaline in nature. This alkalinity helps counteract the acidity of the vaginal tract, and prolong the lifespan of the sperm.

Sperm are produced in the testes and are stored in the epididymis prior to release. The hormones involved in spermatogenesis are testosterone, produced by Leydig cells in the testes, and follicle-stimulating hormone, produced by the anterior pituitary.

Example Question #1 : Reproductive System

What is the purpose of the corpus luteum in females?

Possible Answers:

Contain the egg prior to ovulation

Release hormones to stimulate menstruation

Release progesterone and estradiol following ovulation

Release human chorionic gonadotropin in order to preserve the egg

Correct answer:

Release progesterone and estradiol following ovulation

Explanation:

The corpus luteum is formed from the remainder of the follicle following ovulation. The corpus luteum will release estradiol (estrogen) and progesterone in order to prepare for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not take place, the corpus luteum will degrade into the corpus albicans.

The follicle contains the egg prior to ovulation and releases it after stimulation by follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone from the anterior pituitary. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is the hormone responsible for maintaining the uterus and placenta during pregnancy, and is released by the uterus.

Example Question #2 : Reproductive System

On the fourteenth day of the menstrual cycle, the pituitary gland releases a hormone which allows the ovary to release a matured egg. This egg is then swept into the fallopian tube. What phase of the menstrual cycle encompasses these events?

Possible Answers:

Ovulatory phase

Follicular phase

Menstrual phase

Vaginal phase

Luteal phase

Correct answer:

Ovulatory phase

Explanation:

The menstrual cycle has four phases: 

1) Menstrual phase (days 1-5): the uterus sheds its lining, which exits the body through the vagina in the form of menstrual fluid.

2) Follicular phase (days 1-13): the pituitary gland releases a hormone that stimulates the egg cells to grow. One egg cell matures in a sac-like follicle for 13 days; while it is maturing, the follicle releases a hormone that causes the uterus to develop its lining.

3) Ovulatory phase (day 14): the events listed in the question occur.

4) Luteal phase (days 15-28): the egg released during ovulation stays in the fallopian tube for 24 hours, disintegrating if not fertilized during that time. During this phase, the hormone that causes the uterus to retain its lining is used up, causing another menstrual phase to begin.

Example Question #81 : Animal Biology

What is a key difference between spermatogenesis and oogenesis?

Possible Answers:

Spermatogenesis results in only 1 sperm; oogenesis results in 4 eggs.

Spermatogenesis results in only 1 sperm; oogenesis results in 2 eggs.

Spermatogenesis results in 8 sperm; oogenesis results in only 4 eggs.

Spermatogenesis results in 2 sperm; oogenesis results in only 1 egg.

Spermatogenesis results in 4 sperm; oogenesis results in only 1 egg.

Correct answer:

Spermatogenesis results in 4 sperm; oogenesis results in only 1 egg.

Explanation:

During spermatogenesis, one spermatogonia will become 4 separate functioning spermatozoa. In oogenesis, a primary oocyte will become 1 functioning ovum (or egg) while 3 polar bodies are also produced, which are nonfunctioning and never become eggs.

Example Question #1 : Oogenesis And Spermatogenesis

When a female ovulates, in what phase of division is the oocyte?

Possible Answers:

Metaphase I

Prophase II

Metaphase II

Prophase I

Anaphase I

Correct answer:

Metaphase II

Explanation:

When a female ovulates, the oocyte is in metaphase II, until it becomes fertilized by a sperm. It then completes the second phase of meiosis to make a mature ovum. Remember that, unlike spermatogenesis, oogenesis begins during development. All oocytes undergo meiosis I during fetal development, and are kept suspended in prophase II until ovulation, when they shift to metaphase II. Meiosis only continues beyond metapahse II if fertilization occurs.

Example Question #1 : Oogenesis And Spermatogenesis

What is the "Dictyate state?"

Possible Answers:

The state between fertilization and the start of gonadotropin production

An oogenetic ‘stasis’ between embryo and puberty

Pre-vitellegenic stage in fetal development

A meiosis stabilizing factor 

The primordial follicle

Correct answer:

An oogenetic ‘stasis’ between embryo and puberty

Explanation:

Oogenisis halts in the female embryo while the oocytes are trapped in meiosis II. At the beginning of the menstrual cycle a number of oocytes in primordial follicles are stimulated by pituitary gonadotropins to continue maturation.

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