Chicken eggs are single cells
Since the development of the embryo begins within the hen’s reproductive organs, it is important to understand the structure of an egg and the hen’s reproductive system. The hen’s reproductive organs are the ovary and fallopian tubes (Figure 2). The location of these organs in the animal is shown schematically in Figure 1.
Most females in the animal kingdom have two functioning ovaries, but the hen only has one. Right ovary development stops when the (female) chick is hatched while the left ovary continues to develop. The left ovary contains up to 4,000 tiny eggs, the largest of which develop into egg yolks as the hen grows.
Each yolk is surrounded by a thin follicle (sac) made of membranes. Blood vessels in the follicle carry nutrients to the developing yolk. When an egg yolk matures, the follicle breaks through along a line that is relatively free of blood vessels. The yolk is thus released. The yolk remains intact as it is protected by a membrane.
The finished egg is basically a highly complex reproductive cell (Figure 3), which is responsible for a new life. The germ spot (often called the germinal disc) from which the new chick develops is on the yolk. The egg white surrounds the germ cell and protects it. It consists of several layers.
The egg white is an elastic, shock-absorbing, semi-rigid material with a high water content. The yolk and white of the egg serve as food for the growing embryo during incubation. On opposite sides of the yolk are two twisted cord-like cords called hail cords. They keep the egg yolk in suspension in the egg white so that it doesn't hit the shell. The germ spot is always on the upper side of the yolk and therefore close to the hen's body heat. This is important during the incubation process. The yolks and whites therefore work together to protect and support the life of the growing embryo.
Around the egg white and the egg yolk there are two shell membranes and the shell itself. These additionally protect the egg yolk and the egg white, the shell also ensures the exchange of gases.
The following table summarizes the function of the egg components:
|Egg yolk, Egg yolk:||Nutrition, protection of the embryo|
|Protein, Egg white||Nutrition, protection of the embryo. The egg white turns white when cooked ("egg white")!|
|Membranes, "Egg skin"||ensures breathing, i.e. the gas exchange between oxygen and carbon dioxide|
|Bowl, Lime bowl||Protection of the embryo from mechanical damage|
|Hailstones||They hold the yolks in a floating position|
|Germinal disc, Germ stain||K. is a small white spot from which the chick develops through cell division and growth.|
|Air chamber||Make sure the chick has enough room to hatch.|
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