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Concept: Egg


Background The age at which allergenic foods should be introduced into the diet of breast-fed infants is uncertain. We evaluated whether the early introduction of allergenic foods in the diet of breast-fed infants would protect against the development of food allergy. Methods We recruited, from the general population, 1303 exclusively breast-fed infants who were 3 months of age and randomly assigned them to the early introduction of six allergenic foods (peanut, cooked egg, cow’s milk, sesame, whitefish, and wheat; early-introduction group) or to the current practice recommended in the United Kingdom of exclusive breast-feeding to approximately 6 months of age (standard-introduction group). The primary outcome was food allergy to one or more of the six foods between 1 year and 3 years of age. Results In the intention-to-treat analysis, food allergy to one or more of the six intervention foods developed in 7.1% of the participants in the standard-introduction group (42 of 595 participants) and in 5.6% of those in the early-introduction group (32 of 567) (P=0.32). In the per-protocol analysis, the prevalence of any food allergy was significantly lower in the early-introduction group than in the standard-introduction group (2.4% vs. 7.3%, P=0.01), as was the prevalence of peanut allergy (0% vs. 2.5%, P=0.003) and egg allergy (1.4% vs. 5.5%, P=0.009); there were no significant effects with respect to milk, sesame, fish, or wheat. The consumption of 2 g per week of peanut or egg-white protein was associated with a significantly lower prevalence of these respective allergies than was less consumption. The early introduction of all six foods was not easily achieved but was safe. Conclusions The trial did not show the efficacy of early introduction of allergenic foods in an intention-to-treat analysis. Further analysis raised the question of whether the prevention of food allergy by means of early introduction of multiple allergenic foods was dose-dependent. (Funded by the Food Standards Agency and others; EAT Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN14254740 .).

Concepts: Nutrition, Egg, Epidemiology, Food, Allergology, Randomized controlled trial, Allergy, Food allergy


BACKGROUND: Food allergy has been reported increasingly around the world during the past several decades. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a common herpesvirus with high infection rate, is now suspected to be a risk or protective factor in food allergy. The aim of the study was to investigate the possible role of EBV infection in IgE-mediated food allergy. METHODS: 34 patients with an egg allergy and 34 healthy controls participated in this study. Egg allergy was confirmed by open-food challenge. Serum anti-viral capsid antigen (VCA), anti-Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) IgG and egg specific (yolk and white)-IgE levels were evaluated by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). At the same time, EBV DNA as well as viral miRNAs in these samples was quantified by real-time PCR. RESULTS: The results showed that serum anti EBNA-1 IgG and two viral miRNAs (miR-BART1-5p and miR-BART7) were highly expressed in patients with egg allergy compared with healthy controls (p < 0.05, < 0.001 and < 0.01, respectively). Moreover, the expressions of anti EBNA-1 specific IgG, miR-BART1-5p and miR-BART7 positively correlated with the level of egg-specific IgE (p < 0.05, < 0.01 and < 0.01, respectively). The differences in anti VCA IgG concentration and EBV DNA copy number between the allergy patients and control individuals were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: The high expression of EBV-specific antibody and miRNAs indicated that EBV infection might play a promoting role in IgE-mediated egg food allergy, and viral miRNAs-related immunomodulatory pathway was likely involved in this allergy process.

Concepts: Immunology, Virus, Egg, Allergy, Epstein-Barr virus, Antibody, Immune system, Food allergy


Crested penguins (genus Eudyptes) have a peculiar hatching pattern, with the first-laid egg (A-egg) hatching after the second-laid egg (B-egg) and chicks from A-eggs typically having a much lower survival probability. Maternal yolk androgens have been suggested to contribute to the competitive superiority of the B-chick in southern rockhopper penguins Eudyptes chrysocome, given their important role in mediating sibling competition in other species. We therefore increased the yolk androgen levels in freshly-laid eggs and examined the consequences for sibling competition–via effects on embryonic developmental times, chick growth and early survival. We placed one androgen-treated egg and one control egg into each foster nest, matching them for mass, laying date and laying order. The androgen treatment did not significantly affect embryonic developmental times or chick measurements at hatching. However, elevated yolk androgen levels benefitted chick growth in interaction with the number of siblings in a brood. Chicks from androgen-treated eggs had faster growth in the presence of a sibling than chicks from control eggs. Under these circumstances they also had a higher survival probability. Thus maternal androgens appear to reinforce the observed hatching pattern, facilitating brood reduction. This contrasts to most previous studies in other species where yolk androgens have been shown to compensate for the negative consequences of delayed hatching within the brood hierarchy.

Concepts: Egg, Penguins, Rockhopper penguin, Androgen, Western Rockhopper Penguin


Protoporphyrin (PP) and biliverdin (BV) give rise to the enormous diversity in avian egg coloration. Egg color serves several ecological purposes, including post-mating signaling and camouflage. Egg camouflage represents a major character of open-nesting birds which accomplish protection of their unhatched offspring against visually oriented predators by cryptic egg coloration. Cryptic coloration evolved to match the predominant shades of color found in the nesting environment. Such a selection pressure for the evolution of colored or cryptic eggs should be present in all open nesting birds and relatives. Many birds are open-nesting, but protect their eggs by continuous brooding, and thus exhibit no or minimal eggshell pigmentation. Their closest extant relatives, crocodiles, protect their eggs by burial and have unpigmented eggs. This phylogenetic pattern led to the assumption that colored eggs evolved within crown birds. The mosaic evolution of supposedly avian traits in non-avian theropod dinosaurs, however, such as the supposed evolution of partially open nesting behavior in oviraptorids, argues against this long-established theory. Using a double-checking liquid chromatography ESI-Q-TOF mass spectrometry routine, we traced the origin of colored eggs to their non-avian dinosaur ancestors by providing the first record of the avian eggshell pigments protoporphyrin and biliverdin in the eggshells of Late Cretaceous oviraptorid dinosaurs. The eggshell parataxon Macroolithus yaotunensis can be assigned to the oviraptor Heyuannia huangi based on exceptionally preserved, late developmental stage embryo remains. The analyzed eggshells are from three Late Cretaceous fluvial deposits ranging from eastern to southernmost China. Reevaluation of these taphonomic settings, and a consideration of patterns in the porosity of completely preserved eggs support an at least partially open nesting behavior for oviraptorosaurs. Such a nest arrangement corresponds with our reconstruction of blue-green eggs for oviraptors. According to the sexual signaling hypothesis, the reconstructed blue-green eggs support the origin of previously hypothesized avian paternal care in oviraptorid dinosaurs. Preserved dinosaur egg color not only pushes the current limits of the vertebrate molecular and associated soft tissue fossil record, but also provides a perspective on the potential application of this unexplored paleontological resource.

Concepts: Reptile, Evolution, Oviraptoridae, Paleontology, Fossil, Egg, Dinosaur, Bird


Food allergy among children is common, affecting up to 8% of children younger than 3 years of age.(1) It can be serious, even fatal, with hospital-discharge data from the United States documenting an increasing trend of food-induced anaphylaxis.(2) In order to minimize accidental exposure to foods to which a child could be allergic, many schools in the United States have a “no sharing” policy for food.(3) For decades, we had been trying to stem the rising tide of food allergy by urging parents to avoid exposing their children to foods such as egg, peanut, and fish early in life - . . .

Concepts: Shellfish, Maize, Asthma, United States, Egg, Food allergy, Food, Allergy


The Late Jurassic Lourinhã Formation is known for its abundant remains of dinosaurs, crocodylomorphs and other vertebrates. Among this record are nine localities that have produced either dinosaur embryos, eggs or eggshell fragments. Herein, we describe and identify the first crocodiloid morphotype eggs and eggshells from the Lourinhã Formation, from five occurrences. One clutch from Cambelas, composed of 13 eggs, eggshell fragments from Casal da Rola and Peralta, one crushed egg and eggshells from Paimogo North, and four crushed eggs as well as eggshell fragments from Paimogo South. We observed and confirmed diagnostic morphological characters for crocodiloid eggshells and which are consistent with a crocodylomorph affinity, such as the ellipsoidal shape, wedge-shaped shell units, triangular extinction under cross-polarized light, and tabular ultrastructure. This material is distinctive enough to propose two new ootaxa within the oofamily Krokolithidae, Suchoolithus portucalensis, oogen. and oosp. nov., for the material from Cambelas, the most complete clutch known for crocodiloid eggs, and Krokolithes dinophilus, oosp. nov., for the remaining material. These are the oldest crocodylomorph eggs known, extending the fossil record for this group to the Late Jurassic. Furthermore, except for the clutch from Cambelas, the material was found with theropod eggs and nests, in the other four occurrences, which seem to suggest some form of biological relationship, still unclear at this point.

Concepts: Fossil, Paleontology, Archaeopteryx, Chicken, Reptile, Egg, Bird, Dinosaur


Evading detection by predators is crucial for survival. Camouflage is therefore a widespread adaptation, but despite substantial research effort our understanding of different camouflage strategies has relied predominantly on artificial systems and on experiments disregarding how camouflage is perceived by predators. Here we show for the first time in a natural system, that survival probability of wild animals is directly related to their level of camouflage as perceived by the visual systems of their main predators. Ground-nesting plovers and coursers flee as threats approach, and their clutches were more likely to survive when their egg contrast matched their surrounds. In nightjars - which remain motionless as threats approach - clutch survival depended on plumage pattern matching between the incubating bird and its surrounds. Our findings highlight the importance of pattern and luminance based camouflage properties, and the effectiveness of modern techniques in capturing the adaptive properties of visual phenotypes.

Concepts: Pattern recognition, Feather, Egg, Wildlife, Evolution, Hunting, Natural selection, Bird


Low vitamin B-12 concentrations are frequently observed among older adults. Malabsorption is hypothesized to be an important cause of vitamin B-12 inadequacy, but serum vitamin B-12 may also be differently affected by vitamin B-12 intake depending on food source. We examined associations between dietary sources of vitamin B-12 (meat, fish and shellfish, eggs, dairy) and serum vitamin B-12, using cross-sectional data of 600 Dutch community-dwelling adults (≥65 years). Dietary intake was assessed with a validated food frequency questionnaire. Vitamin B-12 concentrations were measured in serum. Associations were studied over tertiles of vitamin B-12 intake using P for trend, by calculating prevalence ratios (PRs), and splines. Whereas men had significantly higher vitamin B-12 intakes than women (median (25th-75th percentile): 4.18 (3.29-5.38) versus 3.47 (2.64-4.40) μg/day), serum vitamin B-12 did not differ between the two sexes (mean ± standard deviation (SD): 275 ± 104 pmol/L versus 290 ± 113 pmol/L). Higher intakes of dairy, meat, and fish and shellfish were significantly associated with higher serum vitamin B-12 concentrations, where meat and dairy-predominantly milk were the most potent sources. Egg intake did not significantly contribute to higher serum vitamin B-12 concentrations. Thus, dairy and meat were the most important contributors to serum vitamin B-12, followed by fish and shellfish.

Concepts: Milk, Egg, Seafood, Mean, Standard deviation, Median, Nutrition, Vitamin B12


The non-avian saurischians that have associated eggshells and embryos are represented only by the sauropodomorph Massospondylus and Coelurosauria (derived theropods), thus missing the basal theropod representatives. We report a dinosaur clutch containing several crushed eggs and embryonic material ascribed to the megalosaurid theropod Torvosaurus. It represents the first associated eggshells and embryos of megalosauroids, thus filling an important phylogenetic gap between two distantly related groups of saurischians. These fossils represent the only unequivocal basal theropod embryos found to date. The assemblage was found in early Tithonian fluvial overbank deposits of the Lourinhã Formation in West Portugal. The morphological, microstructural and chemical characterization results of the eggshell fragments indicate very mild diagenesis. Furthermore, these fossils allow unambiguous association of basal theropod osteology with a specific and unique new eggshell morphology.

Concepts: Archaeopteryx, Coelurosauria, Egg, Saurischia, Fossil, Theropoda, Bird, Dinosaur


We recently demonstrated that daily whole egg consumption during moderate carbohydrate restriction leads to greater increases in plasma HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C) and improvements in HDL profiles in metabolic syndrome (MetS) when compared to intake of a yolk-free egg substitute. We further investigated the effects of this intervention on HDL composition and function, hypothesizing that the phospholipid species present in egg yolk modulate HDL lipid composition to increase the cholesterol-accepting capacity of subject serum. Men and women classified with MetS were randomly assigned to consume either three whole eggs (EGG, n = 20) per day or the equivalent amount of egg substitute (SUB, n = 17) throughout a 12-week moderate carbohydrate-restricted (25-30 % of energy) diet. Relative to other HDL lipids, HDL-cholesteryl ester content increased in all subjects, with greater increases in the SUB group. Further, HDL-triacylglycerol content was reduced in EGG group subjects with normal baseline plasma HDL-C, resulting in increases in HDL-CE/TAG ratios in both groups. Phospholipid analysis by mass spectrometry revealed that HDL became enriched in phosphatidylethanolamine in the EGG group, and that EGG group HDL better reflected sphingomyelin species present in the whole egg product at week 12 compared to baseline. Further, macrophage cholesterol efflux to EGG subject serum increased from baseline to week 12, whereas no changes were observed in the SUB group. Together, these findings suggest that daily egg consumption promotes favorable shifts in HDL lipid composition and function beyond increasing plasma HDL-C in MetS.

Concepts: Egg, Metabolism, Lipid, Lipid bilayer, Egg yolk, Nutrition, Cholesterol, Lecithin