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Once an egg is released from the ovary during ovulation, it meets with a sperm cell that was carried to it via the semen. These two gametes combine to form a zygote and this process is called fertilization. The zygote then begins to divide and becomes a blastula.
The blastula develops in one of two ways, which actually divides the whole animal kingdom in half. The blastula develops a pore at one end, called a blastopore. If that blastopore becomes the mouth of the animal, the animal is a protostome, and if it forms an anus, the animal is a deuterostome. Protostomes are invertebrate animals such as worms, insects and molluscs, while deuterostomes are vertebrates such as birds, reptiles, and humans.
The blastula continues to develop, eventually forming a structure called the gastrula. During the process of gastrulation, cells start to move to the interior of the blastula and the three germ cell layers are formed. The body’s tissue and organs are derived from these three layers as follows:
At this stage, the embryo is called the gastrula. Depending on the animal involved, a combination of the following processes takes place to arrange the cells inside the embryo: