Pregnancy and Developmental Programming

An increased understanding of animal reproduction at molecular, cellular, and whole animal levels is critical for improving production efficiency in animal agriculture as well as enhancing human health. Independent of the species, if a pregnancy doesn’t establish and successfully results in live offspring, the species is not sustainable. Additionally, a broader understanding of the impact of suboptimal environmental exposure during pregnancy or early postnatal life suggests that reproductive success is a lifelong measurement of an animal’s performance, in addition to historically calculated pre- and early post-natal morbidity and mortality.

Discovery and innovation in all aspects of physiology

Pregnancy and Developmental Programming touches every aspect of physiology and therefore impacts all areas of livestock production, including reproductive outcomes, immune function; growth, metabolism, and efficiency; stress response; behavior; and more. This concept is not new; however, the mechanistic basis of this process has recently come to the forefront. Thus, Pregnancy and Developmental Programming of both livestock and humans have taken on increased levels of importance. Nutrition, stress and environmental contaminants all play roles in programming gene expression in the developing conceptus. Discovery and innovation in this Area of Excellence will allow for the generation of foundational knowledge and development of applied technologies and strategies that will positively impact the state, the nation, and the world.

Increasing reproductive efficiencies and outcomes in all livestock species

Our goal is to be a world leader in pregnancy and development and to enhance reproductive efficiencies and outcomes via the increased understanding of mechanisms supporting embryonic survival, relationships between intrauterine nutrition, immune function, neonatal survival, and improved utilization of nutrients in all livestock species.

Research and publications in the Areas of Excellence

Department of Animal Science Areas of Excellence

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