World’s first test-tube puppies born in US

US researchers announced on Wednesday that world’s first ever test-tube puppies have been born.

Updated: Dec 10, 2015, 11:22 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: A breakthrough for bringing a healthier breed in the making as world’s first ever test-tube puppies have been born in US.

US researchers announced on Wednesday that the puppies were conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF).

A female dog gave birth to seven healthy puppies in July after 19 embryos were transferred onto her, according to the researchers from Cornell University.

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The birth of seven puppies marked 40 years of attempts by scientists to use IVF on dogs.

Out of these seven puppies, two are from a Beagle mother and a Cocker Spaniel father while the remaining five are from two Beagle pairs.

"Since the mid-1970s, people have been trying to do this in a dog and have been unsuccessful, said Alex Travis, associate professor of reproductive biology in the Baker Institute for Animal Health at Cornell University`s College of Veterinary Medicine.

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The findings were published in the Public Library of Science ONE journal.

The researchers said the success has big ramifications for wildlife conservation.

"We can freeze and bank sperm, and use it for artificial insemination. We can also freeze oocytes, but in the absence of in vitro fertilization, we couldn`t use them," Travis said. "Now we can use this technique to conserve the genetics of endangered species."

It also could help eradicate heritable diseases in dogs, according to the researchers.

"With a combination of gene editing techniques and IVF, we can potentially prevent genetic disease before it starts," Travis said.

Successful in vitro fertilization requires fertilizing a mature egg with a sperm to produce an embryo, which is then inserted at just the right time into a female.

The researchers faced several hurdles along the way, including collecting mature eggs from the female oviduct, simulating how the female tract prepares sperm for fertilization in the lab and freezing the embryos.

The first human "test tube" baby was born in Britain in 1978, where the technique was developed.

(With Agency Inputs)