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Beagle Gives Birth to the World’s First Litter of IVF Puppies

In a procedure at Cornell University in New York, seven pups were delivered after 19 embryos created by in-vitro fertilisation were transferred to the beagle.

In-vitro fertilisation involves fertilising eggs with sperm outside the body before they implanting the embryos into a female. The technique has been used since the 1970s to help with human birth.

Of the puppies, who have three sets of biological parents, five are beagles, and two are a cross between a beagle and a cocker-spaniel.

Dogs share more than 350 heritable disorders and traits with humans – almost twice as many as any other species, and scientists think the experiment could pave the way to using their embryos to study human diseases, as well as eradicating heritable diseases in dogs.

“It opens up the possibility that we could identify certain genes that cause disease and then fix those, replace them with a good copy of the gene before those dogs are even born,” said Alex Travis, the head of the laboratory at Cornell’s Baker Institute for Animal Health.

“So instead of trying to cure disease, we can help prevent it from happening in the first place.”

In 2013 the same Cornell team delivered Klondike, the first puppy born from a frozen embryo in the West.

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