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Dec 10, 2015 10:51 PM EST

World's first in vitro puppies created by scientists

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A team of researchers at Cornell University's College of veterinary medicine, in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution, has employed the IVF procedure to produce seven healthy IVF puppies, the Washington Post reports.

The IVF procedure has been used to help human couples have children since the late 1970s. However, this is the first time that the technique has been used for canines.

"Since the mid-1970s, people have been trying to do [IVF] in a dog and have been unsuccessful," co-author Alex Travis, associate professor of reproductive biology at the Baker Institute for Animal Health in Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine said in a statement, according to CNN.

The dogs, born July 10, are a mix of beagle, Labrador and cocker spaniel, according to the Associated Press.

"We each took a puppy and rubbed it with a little towel and when it started to squiggle and cry, we knew we had success," Alexander Travis, who runs the lab at Cornell, told the AP.

"Their eyes were closed. They were just adorable, cute, with smooshed-in faces. We checked them to make sure they looked normal and were all breathing."

The researchers said that the achievement could have significant implications for wildlife conservation.

"We can freeze and bank sperm to conserve the genetics of endangered species", said co-author Alex Travis, a Cornell professor of reproductive biology.

The method can also be employed to preserve the rare breeds of dogs.

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