Reproductive Sciences Programs
Programs in the Reproductive Sciences Department at the Bill and Berniece Grewcock Center for Conservation and Research at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium focus on the development of tools that will be of value in the long term conservation of genetic diversity in endangered species, including:
- In vitro embryo production
- Cryopreservation of gametes and embryos
- Non-invasive hormone monitoring to diagnose pregnancy and determine the success of treatment protocols
- Disinfection procedures for gametes and embryos prior to utilization in assisted reproduction (e.g., artificial insemination and embryo transfer)
Most of the projects described involve collaborators from multiple states/countries and institutions who work in the field of animal and/or human reproductive medicine and physiology. A major objective for all of the programs, particularly for the international projects, is to transfer skills and technology so that our collaborators in the range countries of the species of interest can continue research and development on their own with Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium's Center for Conservation and Research staff serving in an advisory capacity after the initial training and preliminary studies.
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium and Hillsdale College Student Training Program
Sponsored by Berniece Grewcock annually since 1998, this program was developed to give undergraduate students in the Biology Department at Hillsdale College (Michigan) an opportunity to participate in a variety of scientific disciplines at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium's Center for Conservation and Research and/or Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium's program in South Africa.
In South Africa, the research included reproductive studies on species such as rhinos, buffalo, and a variety of antelope species and genetic studies on species such as lions, cheetahs and ground hornbills. Currently, the genetic research, supervised by Hillsdale College Professor Dr. Daniel York, has been focusing on the origins of the Chytrid fungus - the pathogen that has been identified in playing a major role in the global amphibian extinction crisis.