Any guess! Who came first: the chicken or the egg? It’s an age-old puzzle that’s stumped generations of scientists. But now they believe they have cracked the conundrum of what came first. British researchers say the chicken came first, as the formation of eggs is only possible thanks to a protein found in the chicken’s ovaries.
‘It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now they have the scientific proof that shows that in fact, the chicken came first,’ said Dr. Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University, who worked with counterparts at Warwick University.
‘The protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process,’ he added.
The protein – called ovocledidin-17 (OC-17) – acts as a catalyst to speed up the development of the shell.
Scientists used a super computer called HECToR, based in Edinburgh, to ‘zoom in’ on the formation of an egg.
It showed OC-17 was crucial in kick-starting crystallization – the early stages of forming a shell.
The protein coverts calcium carbonate into calcite crystals which make up the egg shell, creating six grams of shell every 24 hours.
A healthy female chicken produces just such a system nearly once a day, and can even preserve male sperm inside her body to continue fertilizing eggs for several days after mating. The creationist can clearly see the Creator’s hand in each feature, phase, and function of both chicken and egg.
All of these changes are thought to have been accomplished by acquiring new genetic information through random mutation. Did the mutations occur in the adult progenitor of chickens or in its eggs? There is no evidence of either
Prof John Harding, also of Sheffield University, said the discovery could have other uses.‘Understanding how chickens make shells are fascinating in itself, but can also give clues towards designing new materials,’ he said.
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