In 2010, the NIH, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA), established an interagency partnership to improve human health by promoting the use of agriculturally important domestic animal species in basic and translational research relevant to both biomedicine and agriculture. The Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit” Program encourages comparative medicine studies that use farm animal models that mimic human developmental, physiological, and etiological processes to better understand disease origins and improve efficiency of assisted reproduction technology.
As part of the program, the NICHD, NIFA, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute issued a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) in July 2010: PAR-10-276: Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit: Research in Biomedicine and Agriculture Using Agriculturally Important Domestic Animal Species (R01). Since then, the NICHD and NIFA have supported seven and six awards, respectively. The agencies also expect to issue more awards under this partnership.
In April 2013, the FOA was reissued by the NICHD and NIFA: PAR-13-204: Dual Purpose with Dual Benefit: Research in Biomedicine and Agriculture Using Agriculturally Important Domestic Animal Species (R01).
The research activities supported jointly by the NIH and the USDA must be consistent with the broader missions of both agencies and must advance scientific knowledge to improve human health, animal health, and farm animal production. The topic areas of interest to both agencies include the following:
- Assisted Reproductive Technologies/Stem Cell Biology
- Improve reproductive fecundity and assisted reproduction technology by identifying molecular, physiological, and developmental mechanisms that regulate oocyte maturation and competency.
- Pinpoint biomarkers that predict oocyte fertility or oocyte and embryo competency and viability.
- Determine the benefit of preferentially selecting competent oocytes and embryos to improve the efficiency of in vitro manipulations used for assisted reproductive technologies in human or cloning in farm animals.
- Elucidate the molecular processes regulating nuclear reprogramming after somatic cell nuclear transfer or induction of somatic cells to pluripotent stem cells to enhance tools and improve methods for cloning or generating transgenic animals.
- Devise efficient spermatogonial stem cell isolation, propagation, cryopreservation, and testicular repopulation technologies to address male germ-line development (including stem cell renewal), male infertility therapy, and alternative transgenesis models. Generating transgenic animals that mimic human disease will allow researchers to study specific human pathogenesis and gain knowledge to improve animal health.
- Establish the contributions of specific cell types, such as the adipocyte, and central or peripheral factors to the metabolism of lipids; define the roles of these factors in modulating fat accretion in tissues or during specific developmental stages.
- Identify genetic or exogenous factors, such as diet or hormones, and determine their roles in predisposition to or onset of obesity.
- Explore the relationship between metabolism and regulation of fat accretion within the context of improving the quality of meat—and thus its nutritive value to humans—and providing insight for the development of novel therapies to reduce the global epidemic of obesity.
- Developmental Origin of Adult Disease
- Define in utero developmental programming events altered by maternal exposure to environment stressors (e.g., nutrition, drugs, temperature, pathogens, toxicants) or maternal health status (e.g., disease, obesity) that may lead to adult disease or impair growth, fertility, meat quality, disease resistance, and other traits that are particularly important for agriculture.
- Inform the creation of innovative interventions that prevent or ameliorate disease and enhance desired traits to promote human and animal health as well as improve production traits that are economically important for agriculture.
- Infectious Diseases
- Elucidate the genes and physiological mechanisms that regulate resistance and susceptibility to pathogens that infect humans or agricultural animals, allowing for the selection and generation of pathogen-resistant animals.
- Develop interventions that decrease or prevent the transmission of pathogens from animal reservoirs to humans.
- Identify environmental factors that contribute to the emergence of infectious pathogens to decrease or eradicate their occurrence.
- Contribute to the prevention or eradication of infectious diseases that substantially affect the health of both humans and farm animals.
Sites and Projects
Funded by NICHD:
- Teresa Davis, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas
Leucine Supplementation to Promote Lean Growth in Early Life
- Susan Suarez, Cornell University, New York
Physical and Chemical Cues that Guide Sperm Migration in the Female Reproductive Tract
- George Smith, Michigan State University
Embryotropic Actions of Follistatin: Mechanisms and Translational Relevance
- Pablo Ross, University of California, Davis
Epigenetic Control of Preimplantation Development
- Rodney Johnson, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Developmental Origins of Decreased Resilience
- R. Michael Roberts, University of Missouri-Columbia
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells from Swine: Application to Genetic Modification
- Thomas Spencer, Washington State University
Systems Biology Approach to Understanding Endometrial Receptivity and Pregnancy Loss
Funded by NIFA:
- Frank Bartol, Auburn University, Alabama
Maternal Lactocrine Programming of Female Reproductive Tract Development
- Qijing Zhang, Iowa State University
Abortifacient Campylobacter jejuni as a Zoonotic Pathogen
- Chang Won Lee, The Ohio State University
Universal Flu Vaccine by a Norovirus P Particle Platform
- Peter Hansen, University of Florida
Developmental Programming During Preimplantation Development
- Cynthia Baldwin, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Activation of Gamma Delta T Cells in Response to Important Bacterial Pathogens
- Michael Konkel, Washington State University
Prevention of Campylobacter Jejuni Disease in Humans by Reducing Pathogens Load in Poultry