World’s First Litter Of IVF Puppies Created Via Test Tube By Cornell University Scientists

Posted: Dec 10 2015, 7:57pm CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


IVF puppy
Photo credit: Getty Images

A breakthrough study published in the journal Public Library of Science ONE details how scientists from Cornell University and the Smithsonian Institution have succeeded at creating test-tube puppies born via in-vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques – the first of its kind in the world.

Scientists at Cornell laboratory implanted 19 fertilized dog eggs or embryos into a female dog, and it ultimately gave birth to seven healthy puppies. Two of the puppies came from a beagle mother and cocker spaniel father, and the remaining five from two mated beagle fathers and mothers.

Alex Travis, associate professor of reproductive biology at the Baker Institute for Animal Health in Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine, noted that this is the first time IVF in a dog would really be successful considering the fact that scientists had been trying it since the early 70s.

Successful IVF have been performed countless times with humans and other mammals, but never with dogs. The operation involved extracting healthy and mature eggs as well as sperm from healthy mammals and then fertilizing in a lab environment similar to a womb, with the resultant embryos are transferred into a host mammal at the proper point of her reproductive cycle.

Past scientists had always failed at IVF operations with dogs and other canines because the reproductive cycle of a dog is different from those of other mammals. To resolve this problem, researchers allowed dog eggs to stay one extra day in its oviduct before harvesting; and the conditions necessary for internal fertilization of the eggs by the sperm were simulated in the lab because fertilization could occur – this equally involved adding magnesium to the cell culture.

“We can freeze and bank sperm, and use it for artificial insemination,” Travis said. “We can also freeze oocytes, but in the absence of in vitro fertilization, we couldn’t use them. Now we can use this technique to conserve the genetics of endangered species.”

With this breakthrough in birthing puppies through IVF procedures, wildlife conservation would be made possible because endangered animals can now be preserved via “test tube” operations. Another thing is that it will promote understanding genetic diseases since canines and humans share several heritable disorders, helping researchers to develop procedures for preventing transmission of communicable diseases in both dogs and humans, and enhancing positive traits and qualities via gene editing tools.   

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.




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