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Transparent eggs let scientists see how bird embryos grow

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
February 9, 2015
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If you want to see how animal embryos grow in eggs, you typically have to poke a hole in the egg and patch it up later. That's not always safe, and it may give you an incomplete picture of what's going on. Scientists at Beijing's Tsinghua University think they have a better solution, though. They've developed transparent artificial bird eggs that mimic the real deal while showing every single nuance of the embryo's development. The key is a special process that gives an organic polymer the same shape as an egg, offering the avian a relatively natural environment that's easier to work with in a lab.

These shells are more than a little eerie, as you'll see in the video below, but they could be crucial to understanding life processes. They promise a reliable way to observe the development of egg-laying creatures, including the effects of treatments and rare genes. While these see-through eggshells won't help much with studying humans and other mammals, the discoveries they allow could help biology as a whole.

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