Have a happy Easter, full of happy eggs
It is probably not uppermost in your mind when you dye eggs for Easter that you are depending on an invisible structure called the cuticle being present for the eggs to colour properly. But the amount of change in colour you see depends on how much cuticle is present on the egg.
Having colourful Easter eggs is good news, but more importantly this same cuticle prevents bacteria entering the egg. This reduces the chance of bacteria reaching the developing chick if the egg is fertile and keeps the non-fertile eggs we eat safe.
Industry and BBSRC-funded scientist are developing tools which are better, although less colourful, to measure the amount of cuticle on an egg. This will allow genetic selection to improve the cuticle and improve egg safety.
Research from: The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Lohmann Tierzucht and Aviagen
Image of the green eggs from Norrie Russell.
Images of the bowl of dyed eggs from Hannah Dunn.