Scientists are finally getting to grips with the ancient poser: which came first, the chicken or the egg?
It’s an ancient question that has troubled the minds of scientists and deep thinkers over thousands of years, but scientists, with the help of new technology, believe they may finally have the answer.
Researchers at the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick in northern and central England, say the secret lies in the eggshell – specifically the vital role played by a chicken protein in forming it. Scientists already knew that the protein, vocledidin-17 (OC-17) – produced in the pregnant hen’s ovaries – played a part in eggshell formation, but the new technology allowed the team to demonstrate exactly how the protein makes it happen.
In a computer simulation, the OC-17 protein acted as a catalyst to kickstart the formation of crystals that make up an eggshell by clamping itself on to calcium carbonate particles. The OC-17 protein then dropped off when the crystal nucleus was large enough to grow on its own, freeing up the protein to start the process again. Eggshells are created when this happens many times within a short time period.
So there’s finally a pretty solid understanding of how the eggshell is made, and something for the chicken to crow about, but now comes the next question, how did the protein producing chicken come to exist in the first place? Scientists get cracking. - Sources, Daily Express, Times of India