Vallet, Jeffrey L
Supervisory Research Physiologist
REPRODUCTION RESEARCH UNIT
P.O. BOX 166 (State Spur 18D)/USDA-ARS-NPA-MARC
Clay Center NE 68933
The primary efforts of the Reproduction Research Unit are directed toward improving the reproductive and production efficiency of swine. Major inefficiencies in swine reproduction include poor entrance and retention of females in the breeding herd and high perinatal and neonatal losses of piglets. Research of the unit involves physiology, endocrinology, behavior, molecular biology, neuroendocrinology, biochemistry, nutrition, and genomic analysis. Increased understanding of factors that influence puberty, estrus, sexual behavior, ovulation, implantation, embryonic and fetal mortality, parturition, lactation, early postnatal mortality, and return to cyclicity after weaning is required for improving reproductive efficiency. Specific research efforts investigate factors affecting gilt development, retention of sows in the breeding herd, increasing the number of quality pigs weaned per litter, and development of genomic markers for these and other production traits.