Seven Perfectly Healthy IVF Puppies Born To Beagle Surrogate
Great news for the science world and dog lovers alike this week. It appears that scientists have finally found a way to give life to healthy, normal “test tube” puppies after more than thirty years of failed attempts.
Successful in-vitro fertilisation in animals is the cornerstone of conserving endangered species and could even help scientists in combating certain human and animal diseases, according to researchers at Cornell University.
As of now, the world has seven perfectly healthy beagles and cross-bred beagle-spaniel puppies, all born to the same surrogate mother. They’re from the same litter but have completely different parents.
This was accomplished by fertilising a female dog with frozen embryos, using techniques similar to those used when doing IVF to humans. There have been difficulties with freezing embryos in the past, but this group of researchers claims that they’ve finally perfected the technique.
Lead researcher Dr Alex Travis from Cornell’s college of veterinary medicine proudly said that they have “seven normal healthy puppies.” He added that scientists have been unsuccessfully trying to do this since the mid-70’s, explaining that they’ve resulted in very low rates of fertilization and no live births at all.
The researchers say that IVF is a powerful tool to preserve endangered species of dogs such as the African wild dog. Embryos can now be taken from specimens of the species and reproduced. Moreover, the technique will also be of great help when studying various diseases that affect both humans and dogs. And according to scientists, dogs are affected by numerous diseases that also affect humans, almost twice as many as other species.
The puppies were born in the summer and their existence was kept a secret until the researchers were sure that they accomplished their goal, after which they revealed their scientific achievement to the public. The pups’ names are Ivy, Cannon, Beaker, Buddy, Nelly, Red and Green, they’re all perfectly healthy and all but one has been adopted into a new home.
Head of the school of veterinary medicine at the University of Edinburgh professor David Argyle also agrees that the new technique will help in understanding genetically inherited diseases in both people and dogs. Dogs get spontaneous cancer just as humans and they’re exposed to the same environmental factors as humans, which is why they’re perfect for uncovering genetically-inherited diseases.