Baku, December 10, AZERTAC
The first litter of puppies conceived through in vitro fertilization has been born, in a scientific breakthrough decades in the making, US researchers have announced.
A female dog into which 19 embryos were transferred gave birth in July to seven healthy puppies, according to the researchers from Cornell University.
Two of the puppies are from a Beagle mother and a Cocker Spaniel father, and 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.
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.