A Penn State research team received a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture to begin the development of new strategies for turkey breeding, according to Penn State News.
The research will be conducted at the Penn State Poultry Education and Research Center and at the Huck Life Institutes of the Life Sciences.
Lead researcher Paul Bartell, associate professor of avian biology in the College of Agricultural Sciences, explained the restraints of turkey reproduction due to seasonal breeding, which is common in most animals.
The researchers have "evolved neurobiological mechanisms for measuring day length and then for converting that information to effectively modulate their reproductive activities," according to Bartell.
“In this research, we seek to identify the mechanisms in the brain of turkey hens underlying photoperiodism, so that we can develop methods for overcoming the constraints that the seasonal cycle puts on their reproductive output," Bartell said in a statement.
The research will allow for additional developmental strategies to combat production inefficiency that occurs when turkeys get increasingly "broody" after laying eggs.
According to Bartell, this study "could lead to significant economic impact" because of the increase in turkey eggs, totaling up to $250,000 more in revenue.
“We believe they will allow us to create novel and innovative strategies for overcoming the constraints that the evolutionary vestiges of the seasonal cycle puts on reproductive output in the turkey hen," Bartell said in a statement.
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