The World Welcomes First Ever IVF Puppies
Though it was only a matter of time when the first ever ‘test tube’ pups would be born, the world is still in awe of the latest scientific achievement. This breakthrough is not only significant because we get to see how IVF puppies look like (they look the same as every other puppy), but because the in-vitro fertilization success means that hundreds of endangered breeds could be saved. Moreover, it could also help in finding cures for various human and animal diseases, according to researchers at Cornell University.
The first IVF pups, seven beagle and cross-bred beagle-spaniel puppies, were born to a surrogate mother and although they are from the same litter, they have three sets of parents. It may be hard to grasp this kind of information, but science has definitely done it again! But, how did researchers actually do it?
Well, frozen embryos were implanted in the surrogate mother dog using similar techniques to those used when treating human infertility. Scientists say that they previously had problems with freezing canine embryos, but they have finally mastered this and many other techniques needed to make the procedure successful.
Lead researcher Dr. Alex Travis, from Cornell’s college of veterinary medicine, said that the pups are as normal as it gets and that they look just like your average pup: happy, playful and most importantly, healthy. He explained that scientists had been trying to do what they did since the mid-1970s without success.
Since they have managed to perfect the technique, they can now use it to preserve the genetics of endangered species such as the African wild dog. They can also study inherited human disease because dogs share twice as many diseases with humans than any other species. Finally, they can identify the genes that cause disease in our canine friends and fix them.
Despite the fact that the pups were born in the summer, the researchers didn’t want anyone to know about their existence until the findings were formally presented to the scientific world this week. The research, which was published in the journal PLos One, has been described as a ‘major step forward’ in the field of medicine and we couldn’t agree more with the description.
As far as the pups are concerned, they have been named Ivy, Cannon, Beaker, Buddy, Nelly, Red and Green and all but one has found a forever home. Welcome to the world, pups, we hope you enjoy your stay!