The ultimate philosophical and scientific mystery for centuries has now been ‘cracked’. Scientists have claimed to prove that it was indeed the chicken that came first and not the egg.
Researchers have found that the formation of eggshells relies on a protein found only in a chicken’s ovaries.
Therefore the age old conundrum of what came first has finally been cracked. Since the protein, called the ovocledidin-17 or the OC-17 that can be found only inside the chicken’s ovaries, therefore, the egg can exist only if it has been inside a chicken. This protein acts as a catalyst to speed up the development of the shell. This hard shell is essential to safeguard the yolk and its protective fluid while the chick develops inside the egg.
Scientists from the Sheffield and Warwick universities used a supercomputer to look closely on the formation of an egg. HECToR, the supercomputer based in Edinburgh, Scotland, revealed that OC-17 is important to kick start the early stages of the creation of the cell called Crystallisation. The protein converts Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) to Calcite crystals which make the outer shell.
Dr. Colin Freeman of Sheffield University’s Department of Engineering Materials says that it had been long suspected that the egg came first but now there is scientific proof that shows that the chicken came first.
He added saying that the protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation but by examining it closely they have been able to see how it controls the process.
Professor John Harding from the same department says that the discovery can have other uses. He says that nature has found innovative solutions that work for all kinds of problems in materials science and technology – we can learn a lot from them. The discovery was revealed in the paper ‘Structural Control Of Crystal Nuclei By An Eggshell Protein.’[ Merit Nation]