Division of Animal Sciences

Animal Physiology Research Unit

Development of novel techniques that improve physiological functions to increase productivity in domestic animals

 To increase quality and quantity of animal products such as meat and milk, it is necessary to raise domestic animals under less stressful conditions and to breed them efficiently.
 Therefore, to elucidate physiological functions underlying stress responses and reproduction, we are working on 1) development of methods in which the degree of stress and positive emotion in domestic animals are objectively estimated, 2) analysis of effects of day light length, temperature and raising environment on the stress response, 3) analysis of central mechanisms that control ovum development and ovulation in response to environmental changes inside and outside of the body, such as nutritional conditions and pheromone, 4) analysis of mechanisms involved in the periodic changes of ovarian morphology and functions, and 5) analysis of processes for blastocyst implantation and placenta formation, and placental functions.
 Knowledge obtained through these studies will fundamentally contribute to develop novel techniques that improve physiological functions to increase productivity in domestic animals.

Bovine fetus and placenta on the day 65 of gestation

Bovine blastocyst (0.3mm in diameter) is implanted in maternal uterus and grows up to 30 kg in weight during 280 days of gestation. The placenta mediates the dramatic growth of newborn. Our unit works on the elucidation of implantation and the placental function to promote the healthy growth of the fetuses in the cow.

Kids and their mother

The goat is a member of domestic ruminants as a cattle. Because the goat is smaller than cattle, its nature is gentle and thus is easy to handle, it is an ideal experimental model to investigate physiological functions in domestic animals. In this unit, we are working on research to elucidate the central mechanism controlling reproductive functions using the Shiba goat.