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Name: Ronni T.
Status: Student
Age: 20s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 

I am fighting with my boyfriend because I say that a chicken egg is a SINGLE cell. He says that a chicken egg is made up of multiple cells. Is it one tiny cell surrounded by proteins OR, is it one large cell containing the proteins within its large membrane? Thanks for your help.

You are right and your boyfriend is wrong...its one cell...the Ostrich egg is the largest cell on Earth....I think your boyfriend should have to suck an egg.


This is a great question! However, there is only one cell in a unfertilized chicken egg and the rest is by definition of what an is an egg.

The controversy is -does the egg shell membrane encompasses the nucleus containing the genetic material and the cytoplasm (together called an ovum) or does the ovum have the cell membrane and the yolk and albumen are separate structures in birds. With most mammals, they are together in the cytoplasm.

The yolk and albumen together contain a rich supply of protein and all the other nutrients to allow the developing bird an adequate supply for 3 weeks or so. The albumen and the york are frequently viewed as large food vacuoles or containers and an essential element to the ovum's potential development; and all the components are enclosed by one single membrane.

Actually, the ovum is intergrated with the yolk in mostly all organisms, but since the yolk is part of many ovum's cytoplasm in most animals and not in others, it becomes a matter of definition as to whether the Ostrich's egg is the largest living single cell [before development] having the yolk separated from the cyctoplasm.

Since man makes the definitions of structures, not nature, we find that science has made the egg or ovum of three or more types by definition. It so happens that with or without the yolk and albumen, the poultry ovum is the largest living cell. If you investigate the details, one of the egg (ovum) definitions does make the Ostrich Egg a one cell unit. I'm sure that like so many other definitions in science, there is not a complete universally accepted agreement.

Whatever, there is only one cell in the unfertilized chicken egg when it is laid.

Steve Sample

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