First test-tube penguin hatches - KCTV5

First test-tube penguin hatches

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The chick is the first of any penguin species to be produced through artificial insemination using frozen-then-thawed semen. (Source: KFMB/CNN) The chick is the first of any penguin species to be produced through artificial insemination using frozen-then-thawed semen. (Source: KFMB/CNN)

SAN DIEGO (KFMB/CNN) - For the thousands each day who visit SeaWorld's Penguin Encounter, it is an amazing experience.

But what they may not realize is that they're also witnessing an amazing scientific breakthrough.

Magellan No. 184, just 12 weeks old, is one of hundreds of birds who've hatched at SeaWorld over the years, so many they have numbers instead of names.

How this majestic Magellan penguin came to be sets her apart from all the rest because 184 is the first of any penguin species to be produced through artificial insemination using frozen-then-thawed semen. It's a technique pioneered at the SeaWorld Reproductive Research Center.

“We keep these vials of semen here,” Justine O'Brien of SeaWorld Reproductive Research Center said. “The semen is drawn up this catheter into the syringe. All we're doing is helping the sperm get further along into that position for fertilization.”

The reproductive technology is making major strides in potentially helping threatened or endangered species.

Copyright 2014 KFMB via CNN. All rights reserved. 

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