The Latest Scientific Achievement: Puppies

Photo: Mike Carroll/Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.
There is a new scientific advancement in cuteness. Scientists at Cornell University have created the world’s first ever litter of IVF puppies, and they are precious. The puppies, now five months old, are a mix of beagle, labrador, and cocker spaniel, with perfectly floppy ears and sweet freckly noses. The researchers at Cornell University’s Baker Institute for Animal Health had been investigating the potential of IVF in preserving endangered species in the canine family and in studying genetic diseases. And the research may help people, too; dogs share more than "350 similar heritable disorders and traits with humans," which the Cornell report says is more than any other species of animal. According to NPR News, advances made in the study of dog illnesses could eventually have implications for humans. Dogs are a challenge for in-vitro fertilization because of their short gestation period and complex reproductive process. Unlike humans, reproductive cells in dogs come out immature and unready for fertilization, and researchers had to simulate the conditions of the canine reproductive tract. And because female dogs only ovulate once or twice a year, scientists had to wait until just the right moment to implant the fertilized eggs. Yahoo News reports that researchers kept track of the little pups — who one researcher referred to as having adorable, “smooshed-in” faces — by painting their nails, and referring to each by its polish color.

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