Saturday, December 12, 2015

Test Tube Puppies

Due to researchers at Cornell University, the first puppies born by in vitro fertilization were born.  This breakthrough could lead to the conservation of endangered canid species.  Also, gene-editing techniques are used to eradicate harmful heritable diseases.  The next step would be trying this in humans because, we share 350 similar heritable disorders with dogs.  
This fertilization technique involved placing 19 fertile embryos into a host female dog.  The mother gave birth to 7 healthy puppies.  The embryos don't have a 100% success rate but this process has been tried for the last 40 years and was finally successful.  This was done by fertilizing the mature egg with the sperm cells outside of the host, and then placing them in the host mother.  
There were a few challenges in this process though.  For example, collecting the right maturity of egg cells was a problem.  The reproductive cycle of a dog is different from other mammals, so finding mature eggs were a little more difficult.  Another challenge was simulating the environment in which the egg is fertilized naturally.  This is difficult to do in the lab.  The final challenge was freezing the embryo, so it could be placed in the oviducts at the proper time.  
These types of techniques can be used to preserve breeds of rare show or work dogs.  This also could help bring back important genes back into the gene pool.  Eventually, these and gene editing techniques could be used to ridding heritable diseases in dogs and possibly humans.  This study opens the door to many future discoveries.

Click here for the original article.


  1. this is very cool, its amazing where genetics is taking us. it would be amazing to see a world where human diseases can be altered simply by in vitro reproduction.

  2. this is awesome to create breeds that couldn't breed naturally due to size or other issues. Also for animals that are endangered,it could be a gateway to produce more of them.

  3. I thought this article was really interesting. That IVP is beneficial to both humans and animals.

  4. great and new, would breeding a sterile animal be a possibility. that would be an amazing experiment to take what was done for the puppies and try it on other animals