The world’s first IVF puppies have been born.
In vitro fertilization is no longer a treatment exclusively for humans. This assisted-reproduction technique can now be used to produce puppies. The success of this technique in dogs is hoped to lead the way in saving endangered species.
In an effort to preserve endangered wildlife and enhance human health, scientists at Cornell University recently succeeded in joining dog eggs and sperm to create embryos, implanted them in the uterus of another a female dogand monitored the gestation of the puppies-to-be to birth.
The birth of seven healthy Beagle puppies via IVF is the first successful attempt after about two decades of failure.
In human beings, physicians stimulate egg growth, retrieve oocytes, introduce egg and sperm, cultivate the resulting proto-embryos in laboratories transfer the blastocysts to a woman’s uterus.But that multistep process had to be tweaked at many points for success to be achieved in dogs.
The successful birth of the puppies was achieved after 19 embryos were transferred into a healthy host female Beagle and, after about 63 days, seven healthy pups were delivered by cesarean section.
Pierre Comizzoli, a research veterinarian at the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Biology Institute, said the success of this research will offer vital insights into the varied reproductive biologies of countless animals.
There are about 5,500 mammalian species, but scientists have characterized in detail the biologies of only about 100.
For conservation biologists’intent on bringing a wide range of endangered mammalian species back from the brink of extinction, this project is expected to offer new perspectives on techniques that work, said Comizzoli.
This may also be seen as beneficial for human health. Domestic dogs and humans share many diseases – including cancers, diabetes and genetic disorders. So scientists think that the dogs’ response to experimental treatments can offer useful insights into the likely outcomes of those treatments in humans.
In this new era or science, dogs already have provided an important model for experimentation. Because gene editing is done in the laboratory, only with the success of IVF in canines can the animals become a useful test bed for editing changes that might — pending much ethical and scientific debate — be used in humans.
The report of this new research was published on Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.
Source: Seattle Times