Department of Reproduction Biology: Projects

Reproduction biology of lynx – basic research for conservation breeding of Iberian lynx

With this project we are scientific partners of the conservation breeding program for the Iberian lynx. This felid was the most endangered feline species and due to the captive breeding and reintroduction efforts the population on the Iberian Peninsula has been stabilized.

Biobanking for assisted reproduction techniques

Assisted reproduction techniques help to maintain the biodiversity. In particular the cryopreservation of gametes is an essential option to preserve the genetic diversity of wild animals and to support breeding programs in zoos.

Wildlife endocrinology

Wildlife endocrinology is largely based on non-invasive monitoring of reproductive and adrenocortical hormones of zoo-and wildlife. Our laboratory has the expertise, reagents and instruments availalbe for related research and is experienced in method development and validation for a variety of species and matrices. Most commonly explored matrices in our laboraty are faeces, urine and hair.

Functional biodiversity of cells belonging to the reproductive system

The evolution of reproductive strategies causes species-specific peculiarities of reproductive processes. The function of cells within the reproductive tracts may also change in dependence of development, cycle or season. We analyse the basic cellular and molecular processes to understand the functional adaptations in reproduction.

Signatures of fe-/male fertility

By comparing genomes of high fertility mouse lines with genomes of non-selected mice we aim to identify signatures of selection (= occurrence and frequency patterns of alleles causal for the selected reproductive trait). General applicability of results will then be tested in other mammal species (pigs, lions). Sperm parameters to correlate male fertility will be evaluated.

Paternal epigenetic effects

Heritable epigenetic changes, or transgenerational effects, are the result of the fixation of epigenetic markers in the genome of gametes as a result of environmental impacts. To identify paternal effects, we test in the wild guinea pig (Cavia aperea) whether alterations of environmental conditions lead to changes in the methylation patterns in tissues of fathers and their male offspring.