Gametes & Embryos
Despite decades of research, current in vitro embryo production protocols are not optimal as demonstrated by poorer embryo quality, aberrant embryo metabolism, and lower pregnancy rates for in vitro produced (IVP) embryos as compared to their in vivo counterparts. We are taking an approach that combines more traditional genetic and cellular molecular assessments with novel pathway flux analysis (fluxome and metabolome), to gain a more global understanding of metabolic networks under defined substrate conditions. This knowledge will assist in the development of superior culture systems that support normal embryonic and fetal development.
CT-1 cells are a bovine trophectoderm (TE) cell line originally established by N. Talbot (Talbot et al., 2000) . These cells provide a useful model for studying early TE lineage events. Maternal nutrition, embryo production methods, including somatic cell nuclear transfer, and environmental insults can have detrimental effects on placental development, most likely through disturbance of TE lineage determination and critical cellular networks controlling cell differentiation.
Stem cells provide an excellent resource for regenerative medicine and preservation of rare genotypes. While methods for propagation of stem cells have been developed in the mouse and rat, application to nonrodent species has proven more difficult. We are developing methods for propagation of embryonic and spermatogonial stems in felids and ruminants for dual applications - preservation of rare and endangered species and as models to study molecular mechanism of differentiation.