Reproductive, Developmental, and Functional Genomics
Colleges: CVM, CAHNRS, CAS
The eternal link between generations is genetics which drives diversity, evolution, and adaptation of all organisms – microbes to humans. In the animal kingdom, genetic information flows through generations via reproductive processes with the conduits being gametes (sperm and eggs). At the most basic level, reproduction creates an embryo with a unique genetic makeup that must progress along an organized series of developmental steps to become a fully formed and normally functioning individual with traits that confer resiliency, survivability, and performance. At present, the mechanisms underpinning how gametes form in sufficient number and quality to produce fertility, combine genomes to initiate embryo and fetal development, and how genetic combinations produce a functional outcome in the form of unique traits are not fully understood. Addressing these gaps in knowledge are critical for the health and wellbeing of humans as well as the generation of livestock that can produce food for human consumption with minimal input and reduced environmental impact. For over 25 years, WSU has been regarded as a land-grant institution with critical mass of faculty that are leading researchers studying the mechanisms of reproductive biology and translating biological function from genomic information. The establishment of the Center for Reproductive Biology (CRB) in 1997 which has grown in prominence on a global scale together with the investment in contemporary functional genomics has resulted in the targeted recruitment of a cohort of new faculty across colleges with research interests that complement existing strengths. WSU’s prominence and reputation has been recognized with the top research achievement awards from the Society for the Study of Reproduction, the New or Young Investigator awards from the SSR and American Society of Andrology, standing membership on the Cell, Molecular, and Integrative Reproduction study section of NIH, and inclusion on national task forces charged with guiding development of federal regulatory policies regarding gene editing in livestock.