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Day 1: The Journey Begins

Meiosis and Mitosis

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Shortly after release from the ovary but before the outer layers of the egg are added, the nucleus undergoes meiosis to prepare it for fertilization. Only one of the cells produced during meiosis goes on to become the embryo while the rest disappear. The ovum now contains a haploid number of chromosomes and is ready to be fertilized by a sperm. If a sperm from a rooster is present, fertilization can take place. The resulting zygote begins simple cell division called mitosis. By the time the egg is laid, the embryo has reached the blastoderm stage. Whether the egg is fertilized or not, it will continue down the oviduct to be covered by albumen and a shell before it is laid. Fertilized eggs go on to become chicks; unfertilized eggs go on to become omelettes.


Egg Anatomy
Text and graphic by Janet Sinn-Hanlon

- Page 9 of 12 -

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EGG BIOLOGICAL IMAGING DATABASE EGG MATH EMBRYOLOGY NIH Image HOME Copyright (C) 1998 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign