The science isn't new—childless couples have been turning to in vitro fertilization since the 1970s—but the world's first test-tube puppies have been born at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
The puppies were actually born this past July, but made their international media debut early Thursday morning and lit up social media (there's already a Twitter hashtag, #testtubepuppies).
The Associated Press reports
that even though the first IVF human birth took place in 1978, IVF efforts with dogs repeatedly failed until this year. Reproductive physiologist Dr. Pierre Comizzoli explained to the AP that female dogs go into heat just once or twice a year, releasing immature eggs instead of mature eggs needed for IVF.
The Cornell IVF team reported their work in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE
, and NBC News reports
researchers are hoping to use their new IVF methods to "correct genetic diseases that plague many breeds of dog."