Genotypic Differentiation of Bovine KNDy Neuron Function
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Most of the increase in beef production required to meet the additional demands of global population growth must come from subtropical and tropical regions. Because of the environmental challenges posed by tropical and subtropical climates, cattle in these regions are represented predominately by Bos indicus and Bos indicus-influenced breeds. However, despite better adaptation to these climates, Bos indicus-influenced beef females present with several phenotypic characteristics that make it more difficult to achieve economically desirable production goals. Two of the most important of these are a later age at puberty and challenges associated with efficient pharmacological control of ovulatory cycles. Mechanisms that underlie contrasting Bos indicus and Bos taurus phenotypes revolve primarily around variances in brain (neuroendocrine) processes that control reproduction. The overarching goal of this project is to determine whether distinct differences observed in the control of reproductive function in Bos indicus and Bos taurus breeds can be attributed to functional differences in hypothalamic (brain area) and/or pituitary (endocrine gland) function. More specifically, we will perform a series of whole animal, cellular, and molecular studies to characterize the key differences in the neuroendocrine control of reproduction between Bos taurus and Bos indicus breeds. We expect to observe functional and structural differences in the neuroendocrine system that explain some of these key differences in reproductive function. This fundamental knowledge will guide the development of pharmacological strategies to enhance reproductive efficiency in Bos indicus-influenced cattle and, consequently, increase beef production efficiency in tropical and subtropical regions.