The Division of Animal Sciences continues to not only support research in animal and poultry
production but its programs have evolved to represent scientific areas, both basic and applied,
that extend beyond the traditional areas of animal production and management. Research
includes such disciplines as molecular and cellular biology, immunology, and molecular
To elucidate critical molecular, cellular, and metabolic mechanisms that impact growth,
nutrient utilization, lactation, muscle biology, reproductive efficiency, and well being of
Produce genetically modified rodent and livestock animals that will benefit human
medicine, veterinary medicine, and animal agriculture.
Utilize findings from basic/discovery research to examine fundamental mechanisms
within the whole animal and to develop innovative animal production practices that will
promote food and fiber production.
Examine the economic impact of innovative production practices in commercial livestock
and poultry enterprises.
Areas of Research
General Goal: Maximize the productive efficiency of swine and cattle through designing and
applying methodologies to test animals and utilize these tests for genetic improvement and
animal management and by identifying genetic diagnostics (DNA and/or RNA-based) associated
with phenotypic variation in production, productive efficiency, fertility, and stress-related traits.
Focus: There is a diversity of scientific expertise among the genetics/genomics faculty that
spans the disciplinary spectrum from Quantitative Genetics to Genomics. This diversity
provides these faculty members with the individual and collaborative expertise to utilize the most
appropriate technology ranging from DNA sequence to mating systems to address issues of
Beneficiaries: Livestock producers will have improved profitability through increased production
efficiency and consumers will benefit from improved quality of pork and beef products to the
General Goal: Improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the meat and livestock industries
in Missouri through improved production practices. Increase red meat quality for all segments of
the marketing chain.
Focus: Applied research that deals with carcass composition and palatability (tenderness,
juiciness, flavor and color) aspects that can be assessed by consumers. Basic research that
focuses on developing tools to detect tenderness.
Beneficiaries of Research: Cattle and swine producers, meat and foodservice industry, and meat
General Goal: Improve production efficiency and product quality, reduce nutrient excretion, and
improve production margins of agriculturally important livestock via advancing our
understanding of nutrient requirements and use.
Focus: Develop a more precise understanding of nutrient requirements by animals and to derive
better equations predicting nutrient requirements of animals. Research is also focused on
determining the nutritive value of new feedstuffs, such as those generated from bioenergy
production. The research conducted relies on basic research to understand mechanisms and then
is followed by applied research to develop technology that can be applied in animal production
Beneficiaries: Livestock producers are benefited by using new technologies to improve animal
productivity. The feed and allied industries are benefited by evaluating new technologies and by
developing and evaluating new products.
General Goal: Maximize reproductive efficiency of cattle, swine and sheep by improving
methods to synchronize estrus and time of ovulation, develop technologies to evaluate oocyte
competence and fertility in males, and improve embryo/fetal survival during gestation thus
increasing number of offspring born.
Focus: A unique characteristic of the Animal Reproduction faculty is the diversity of scientific
expertise within the group. Faculty within the Animal Sciences Unit have made and will
continue to make important contributions to animal agriculture and biomedical science through
both basic/discovery and translational/development research. An important focus of the group is
to elucidate important cellular and molecular processes regulating the female estrous cycle,
testicular and epididymal function, fertilization and early embryonic development, and placental
function, particularly the role of ovarian, uterine and embryo products involved with successful
maintenance of pregnancy and the birth of live offspring. Knowledge of the preceding
reproductive processes can be utilized to develop therapies to better control the time of
ovulation, fertilization, and to increase embryo/fetal survival to enhance fertility.
Beneficiaries of the Research: Cattle, swine and sheep producers, meat consumers.