Journal of Animal Science

ASAS Centennial Paper: Future research in physiology and endocrinology

G. E. Seidel, Jr.

Abstarc :

Over the next quarter century in North America, the followingeventualities are likely for physiology and endocrinology researchwith agricultural animals. 1) Total funding adjusted for inflationwill change little but will come less from public sources, andmost of that will be in the context of human health. Much ofthe privately funded research will be herd specific and remainproprietary. 2) The numbers of MS, PhD, and postdoctoral studentsprobably will decrease, but research in the context of credentialingwill remain important. 3) Resources such as expanded databasesin genomics and proteomics, and remarkable new tools such assmall inhibitory RNA will continue to become available, likelyat a faster rate than in the previous 25 yr. 4) The huge amountsof data from production agriculture will make agricultural animalsideal models for some kinds of basic research, such as studyingfetal programming, resulting in synergy with more applied research.Most of these experimental animals will be in private productionherds and flocks, even when work is publicly funded. 5) Thetrend toward more interdisciplinary research will continue,especially considering interactions among reproduction, health,nutrition, selective breeding, management factors, and societalconcerns; reductionist research probing deeper into cellularand molecular mechanisms will remain important, as will whole-animalapproaches. 6) Agricultural animals are a product of evolutionplus selective breeding. Insights drawn from the former willaid progress in the latter. One focus of research in physiologyand endocrinology will be understanding heterosis, inbreedingdepression, and epigenetic effects as it becomes possible tomanipulate and identify the allelic structure of individualanimals. 7) Additional insightful concepts will evolve thatwill simplify thinking in some respects, such as the maternalto embryonic shift in transcribed RNA in early embryos; however,animal biology will turn out to be even more complex than mostof us currently imagine.

Key Word :
centennial, endocrinology, future, physiology, research

Volume 87, Number 1, January 2009