A group of Japanese high school biology students from the Oihama High School in Chiba successfully grew a chick in an egg outside its shell. The 21-day experiment can be watched on a video posted on YouTube.
In the video, the students prepared the store-bought egg and cracked it into an artificial sterile vessel. The students used a plastic wrap to cover the vessel.
Next, they artificially fertilized the egg and perforated the cover with holes to provide oxygen to the embryo. The egg is placed into an incubator with the rest of the other eggs. In just five days, the yolk is more developed and spread around, forming an embryo. After a week, the embryo developed blood vessels and heartbeat.
Within three weeks, the entire chick is formed. The healthy chick can be seen running around the classroom after being born.
The experiment is actually a demonstration of the technique explained in a Japanese study published in 2014. The study called “A Novel Shell-less Culture System for Chick Embryos Using a Plastic Film as Culture Vessels” published on February 25, 2014 in the Japanese Journal of Poultry Science asserts that this approach can be used to preserve rare and endangered birds.
While eggs are protected in a shell, the shell is still at risk of breaking. Consequently, the damaged eggs can no longer hatch into a bird but now we know that these eggs can be saved through this shell-less method.
For many years, scientists developed different ways to make a chick without a shell but the animal’s survival rate remained below 50 percent. However, this Japanese plastic wrap technique is a more improved method, increasing the survival rate by up to 60 percent.
The video may inspire many people to recreate the experiment at their homes but doing so may not replicate the success in a sterile laboratory environment.