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Animal Sciences Research

Research Objectives for Animal Science

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 genetics.

Research

Research Objectives

  1. To elucidate critical molecular, cellular, and metabolic mechanisms that impact growth, nutrient utilization, lactation, muscle biology, reproductive efficiency, and well being of livestock species.
  2. Produce genetically modified rodent and livestock animals that will benefit human medicine, veterinary medicine, and animal agriculture.
  3. 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.
  4. Examine the economic impact of innovative production practices in commercial livestock and poultry enterprises.

Areas of Research


Genetics/Genomics

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 animal improvement.

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
consumer.

Website: Animal Genomics @ Mizzou


Growth/Meat Science

carcass

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 consumers.


Nutrition

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 scenarios.

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.


Reproduction

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.