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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Logan, Utah » Poisonous Plant Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #300549

Research Project: Understanding and Mitigating the Adverse Effects of Poisonous Plants on Livestock Production Systems

Location: Poisonous Plant Research

Title: Poisonous plants: Effects on embryo and fetal development

item Panter, Kip
item Welch, Kevin
item Gardner, Dale
item Green, Benedict - Ben

Submitted to: Birth Defects Research Part C: Embryo Today: Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/24/2013
Publication Date: 12/16/2013
Publication URL:
Citation: Panter, K.E., Welch, K.D., Gardner, D.R., Green, B.T. 2013. Poisonous plants: Effects on embryo and fetal development. Birth Defects Research Part C: Embryo Today: Reviews. 99:223-234.

Interpretive Summary: Poisonous plant research in the United States began over 100 years ago as a result of livestock losses from toxic plants as settlers migrated westward with their flocks, herds, and families. Many poisonous plants including locoweeds, nightshades, lupines, poison hemlock, wild tobaccos, Veratrum and others affect early embryo and fetal development resulting in large economic losses to livestock producers in the U.S. While similar losses occur on a worldwide basis, different plant genera may be involved, however the research approach is often similar. The USDA Poisonous Plant Research Lab is an international leader in research on toxic plants and their effects on animals as demonstrated by the recent completion of the 9th International Symposium on Poisonous Plant Research (ISOPP 9) held in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, China, July 13-15, 2013.

Technical Abstract: The impact of natural toxins from poisonous plants on the embryo, fetus, and neonate are dramatic and economically significant to livestock producers worldwide. In livestock, reproductive success is the single most important economic multiplier for livestock producers in the U.S. followed by carcass quality and growth traits. Many examples of poisonous plant induced reproductive failure, including birth defects in animals, can be found in the literature. Poisonous plant research to mitigate losses to the livestock industry has made a substantial impact on the economic sustainability for ranchers, farmers, producers and associated industries. The spinoff benefits from this research are also significant in biomedical applications, and many animal models developed from agricultural research provide novel tools and new techniques for investigation of disease in man.