Dogs born by IVF – level 3
Rarely is a major scientific breakthrough so darn cute – this is the first litter of puppies born through IVF. The seven puppies were born on July 10th and their birth marks over 40 years of research from Cornell University in New York State and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.
“This is the world’s first litter of puppies ever born by in vitro fertilisation. So we have seven normal happy healthy puppies. You’ll see that this one here is a cross between a cocker spaniel and and a beagle, whereas this one over here is beagle beagle and they all came from the same litter but they have different moms and dads, but they were all born at the same time and were raised together. Yes, I like you too!”
The IVF process sees eggs fertilise outside the body before the embryos are implanted into a female. This has been used since the 1970’s to assist in human birth, but scientists have long struggled to reproduce those results with dogs in part because the canine reproductive system differs a lot from other mammals.
The discovery could also help humans in more direct ways by shedding light on the genetic basis for numerous disorders that affect both dogs and humans. Dogs share more than 350 similar inheritable disorders and traits with humans, almost twice as many as any other species, but these guys might be just that little bit cuter!
Difficult words: darn (very), litter (animals born to one animal at one time), IVF (in vitro fertilisation; in vitro = taking place outside a living organism), struggle (to try hard), canine (a dog), shed light (to help explain), inheritable (capable of being inherited – passed from parent to child), species (a kind of animal).
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