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Animal Reproduction

Synchronization of Reproductive Cycles

The success of assisted reproductive technologies depends on synchronization of various events in the normal female reproductive cycle. In recent years, we have learned much about the molecular, cellular, and endocrine mechanisms that control ovarian follicular development, ovulation, function of the corpus luteum, and maintenance of pregnancy. A better understanding of these processes leads to improved methods for synchrony between ovulation and estrus (heat), increased number and viability of embryos, and reduced incidence of luteal insufficiency.

Additionally, this work will help to optimize management protocols and treatment regimens, and encourage and facilitate more producers to use assisted reproductive technologies that will improve the health and genetics of livestock animals. Specifically, better treatment regimens are needed to induce estrous cycles in anestrous (not cycling) beef cows, synchronize the time of ovulation in lactating dairy cows, and accurately time insemination with ovulation when estrus is not detected in animals.

NIFA supports basic and applied research projects to provide information regarding the physiological events associated with ovulation and estrus, as well as application of this information to improve reproductive management practices. Some awards are made on a competitive basis, while other funding occurs on a formula basis.


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