World’s first test tube puppies are now 6 months old, all healthy and playful!
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has become a very common procedure for humans to conceive babies around the world. But this amazing technology is not limited just to humans, at least not now! After the news about the seven cute puppies born through IVF, it can be proven that the success rates are possible in animals too. At present it has been successful on dogs, but you may even get your own IVF hamsters in the future! (That suddenly makes the world a better place to live, right?)
Researchers have been spending almost every waking moment to achieve a breakthrough in making dogs conceive through IVF for decades now. But they failed to do so for various reasons until the month of July of the previous year, when the researchers in the UScreated the world’s first test tube puppies. This success is of a gigantic importance as it can help eradicate diseases in dogs and human beings.
1 IVF creation of the puppies
Alex Travis, Associate Professor of Reproductive Biology at the Baker Institute for Animal Health in Cornell’s College of Veterinary Medicine said that people have been trying to do an IVF in a dog since the mid-1970s, but have been unsuccessful till now.
Something amazing happened in the month of July last year; seven puppies were born of the 19 embryos implanted. The dog that gave birth was a pure beagle. The sperms were taken from cocker spaniel and the eggs were taken from a different beagle in conceiving two of the pups. And the sperms and eggs were collected from two other beagles.
Researchers state that the genetic material from beagles helped in the conception. Jennifer Nagashima, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute doctoral fellow and lead author of the study, one of the scientists behind this astounding achievement, described the cornel litter as “the first live births from in vitro fertilized embryos in the dog.”
2 What aided in the success of the IVF
The reason why predecessors of the research failed was probably because the way the reproduction system works in dogs is very different from that of humans. The researchers found that if the eggs were left for an extra day in the canine oviduct, they had better chances of fertilization. Also, adding magnesium to the cell culture helped morph conditions inside the female dog reproductive tract. Travis said that with these two changes that they made, the success rate of fertilization reached to 80-90%.
The researchers also faced the challenge due to the small window of time to implant embryo during dogs’ reproductive cycle. They had to freeze the embryos and then wait for the right moment, which happens only once or twice a year.
3 What’s in store for these adorable pups?
The pups are healthy six months old. These pups are like any other pups and will be free from possible diseases. The researchers are ecstatic with the results and development of the puppies. This could boost confidence for the future.
4 IVF to be used for greater good
The researchers aim at saving endangered species of dogs through IVF than casual breeding. This could also help in curing common diseases in certain breedsof dogs and can contribute in researching cures for certain human conditions also.
The ability to breed dogs through IVF can help save species of dogs that are on the verge of extinction. For example,African painted dog orthe African wild dog. These dogs have come down to a meager number of 3,000. They livein parts of South Africa and the southern part of East Africa.
Also, working with genes can help control diseases like lymphoma, which is common in golden retrievers than any other breed. Well, hopefully this success means a better future for man and his eternal best friend.