Frozen embryo technique could save dying species

Last Updated: Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 16:52

Washington: A technique that brought forth Klondike, a beagle-labrador retriever mix from a frozen embryo, could help preserve dying species such as the red wolf, say researchers.

The nine-month-old Klondike, unlike his canine cousins, is perhaps the world`s first puppy born of a frozen embryo.

The dog`s beagle mother was fertilized using artificial insemination. The resulting embryos were collected and frozen until Klondike`s surrogate mother, also a beagle, was ready to receive the embryo.

Conducted by the researchers at the Cornell`s Baker Institute for Animal Health and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, the process of freezing materials such as fertilized eggs - cryopreservation - provides researchers with a tool to repopulate endangered species.

Because dogs` cycle are able to sustain a pregnancy only once or twice a year, being able to freeze canine embryos is especially important to coordinate timing for transfer into the surrogates, according to a Cornell-Smithsonian statement.

"Reproduction in dogs is remarkably different than in other mammals," said Alex Travis, Baker faculty member and director of Cornell`s campus-wide Centre for Wildlife Conservation.

This research is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, Cornell`s Baker Institute and the Smithsonian Institution, and is part of a new, joint programme to train the next generation of scientists to solve real world problems in conservation.

IANS



First Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 16:52

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