Species only survive if individuals reproduce. Ideally their offspring should grow up healthy to lead long and active lives.

Cow and calf
Post-partum dairy cow

Furthermore, the shortage of food at an international level is driving forward research in livestock production, particularly in developing nations. This is essential to the development of sustainable agricultural systems. Thus, there is an essential need to understand factors that control reproduction of both humans and domestic animals.

The Reproduction and Development group, led by Claire Wathes, has maintained their position as a world class centre of excellence, encompassing both basic and applied research. The group has been consistently supported by competitive funding from the BBSRC, Wellcome Trust, industry, UK government and the EU.

The aim of the group is to understand the physiological mechanisms regulating reproductive performance and to use this information to:  

  • Control fertility and reduce the incidence of infertility in domesticated livestock and humans.
  • Maximise reproductive performance without compromising animal welfare;
  • Improve health of offspring by a better understanding of the interactions between genotype and early environment on subsequent development.  

Reproductive performance is strongly influenced by both genetic and environmental factors such as nutrition and disease and we are particularly interested in determining how these different aspects interact. We have excellent facilities covering the span from applied molecular biology, through cell biology to studies of whole animal physiology and herd epidemiology.

Day 34 horse embryo
Day 34 horse embryo
A differentially stained cow blastocyst
A differentially stained cow blastocyst

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