Campus Units

Animal Science

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Version

Published Version

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Advances in Poultry Genetics and Genomics

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Last Page



Modern agriculture is under strong pressure to improve production efficiency to ensure sustainability. This is an imperative and an urgent matter, given the need for increased food production to feed the rapidly growing human population with dwindling natural resources and the need to minimize environmental degradation. One fascinating fact about the egg as a source of food is its uniqueness among all sources of animal-based proteins. On the one hand, the egg has evolved as a source of life for nonplacental animals – a chamber to protect and nourish the delicate avian embryo and ensure its adequate development and survival. At the same time, it represents a unique, accessible, and dense source of nutrient for human consumption, as it contains adequate amounts of all required nutrients, with the exception of vitamin C and fiber. This makes the egg a gold standard for human nutrition. On the other hand, eggs are unique as a source of food, as they are produced in their own package. This protects the internal components from microbial and physical damage, and preserves the organoleptic and chemical properties of these components. It is also ready to use without requiring further processing, manufacturing, or refrigeration. The mentioned factors, combined with the high productivity of the modern layer, have made the egg the cheapest and more widely available source of high-quality animal protein for human consumption.


This chapter is published as Wolc A., Arango J., Fulton J.E. 2020. Genetics and genomics of egg production traits in poultry species. In: Advances in Poultry Genetics and Genomics. Ed: Aggrey S.E., Zhou H., Tixier-Boichard M., Rhoads D.D., Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing, pp. 151-182. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing Limited



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