Institute of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Extension
Non Technical Summary
The W-112 Regional Research Project was established in 1970 to create a cooperative research group combining both basic and applied expertise to determine factors, and develop methods to improve fertility of domestic ruminants in the Western states. The philosophy and mission for the W-3112 project, established more than forty years ago, continues to be the guiding tenet of our group; that is, cooperative multi-state research, providing product and technique development and outreach for the benefit of animal producers in the Western region and beyond.The project serves as a forum for the development and conduct of collaborative studies aimed at solving problems that limit the reproductive performance of domestic livestock. Scientists associated with the project collectively possess expertise required to discover basic physiological mechanisms and translate such new knowledge to the management of domestic ruminants. Some stations are best equipped to evaluate the applicability of their results in production situations. In contrast, other stations have the animal resources to test new treatment paradigms arising from the basic studies, but do not have the laboratory facilities (or modern equipment) necessary to perform the basic research studies. These circumstances create an ideal situation for our regional collaborative project. Renewal of the W-2112 Regional Research Project is crucial because interactions among scientists with a broad range of expertise are necessary for the discovery, translation, and transfer of new knowledge to the livestock industry. Poor reproductive efficiency in domestic ruminants limits profitability and sustainability of animal production systems in the West and throughout the nation. Therefore, we seek to continue our work in this critical area. Participation in the project since its inception has greatly increased in scope and is now comprised of scientists located in the states of Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming. We believe the reproductive challenges important in the Western states and shared by other states are best addressed by combining the expertise and resources from all regions. The addition of leading reproductive biologists from states outside the West has increased the breadth and greatly strengthened the scientific expertise of the W-2112 (W-3112) project. Renewal of this multi-state project is essential to continue to provide a forum that stimulates the development of new hypotheses, conduct of new collaborative research projects, sharing of resources, and identification and testing of new methods to manage reproduction in domestic ruminants.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories
Goals / Objectives
a. Further understand mechanisms of gonadotropin synthesis and release to improve management of reproductive behavior, the reproductive cycle, gamete development and the ovulatory event.
b. Determine the interaction of growth factors and steroid production on gonadal function, and utilize this knowledge to improve gamete quality and develop technologies to mediate infertility.
Male reproduction (Objective a, b). Studies will be conducted to understand how the angiogenic and antiangiogenic isoforms of VEGFA may be critical for spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) renewal. These studies are important to translate studies in conditional knockout mice to beef calves to further develop tools that enhance spermatogenesis. Experiments to isolate SSCs from the bovine testes will be essential to identify factors that may aid stem cell renewal. PRAMEY identified as a biomarker for sperm quality will be used to analyze semen collected from musk ox, reindeer and beef bull semen. Managerial factors associated with fertility in peripubertal beef bulls and reindeer will be evaluated by assays using fecal testosterone. The neuroendocrine control of the expression of sexual behavior will be continued. These studies are important to identify high libido males, but also determine the neural pathways that may limit the expression of sexual behavior.Scientists from Nebraska, Washington State, Montana, Missouri, Penn State, Kansas State, Wyoming and Alaskawill participate and collaborate on these projects.Behavior and Stress (Objectives a, b). Research efforts in effects of temperament and stress responsiveness on reproduction and performance of cattle will be continued. How stress during gestation influences the epigenome will be determined. The evaluation of calves sired by prenatally stressed bulls and calves from prenatally stressed cows will determine if these DNA methylation changes are present in the second generation.Studies will determine physiological mechanism(s) by which the biostimulatory effect of the male influences metabolic profiles of hormones to accelerate the reproductive neuroendocrine-endocrine cascade culminating in the resumption of ovulatory cycles in anovulatory females. A nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) library will be established for ewes and will be useful to determine metabolic and hormonal profiles in different reproductive states. The neuro-endocrine control of ram reproductive behavior will be continued. Differences in neuropathways which cascade from sexual interest to mating will be identified.Scientists from Montana, Texas and Wyomingwill collaborate on these projects.