Triennial lactation symposium/bolfa: Historical perspectives of lactation biology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries

Robert J Collier, D. E. Bauman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The latter half of the 20th century and the early portion of the 21st century will be recognized as the “Golden Age” of lactation biology. This period corresponded with the rise of systemic, metabolomic, molecular, and genomic biology. It includes the discovery of the structure of DNA and ends with the sequencing of the complete genomes of humans and all major domestic animal species including the dairy cow. This included the ability to identify polymorphisms in the nucleic acid sequence, which can be tied to specific differences in cellular, tissue, and animal performance. Before this period, classical work using endocrine ablation and replacement studies identified the mammary gland as an endocrine-dependent organ. In the early 1960s, the development of RIA and radioreceptor assays permitted the study of the relationship between endocrine patterns and mammary function. The ability to measure nucleic acid content of tissues opened the door to study of the factors regulating mammary growth. The development of high-speed centrifugation in the 1960s allowed separation of specific cell organelles and their membranes. The development of transmission and scanning electron microscopy permitted the study of the relationship between structure and function in the mammary secretory cell. The availability of radiolabeled metabolites provided the opportunity to investigate the metabolic pathways and their regulation. The development of concepts regarding the coordination of metabolism to support lactation integrated our understanding of nutrient partitioning and homeostasis. The ability to produce recombinant molecules and organisms permitted enhancement of lactation in farm animal species and the production of milk containing proteins of value to human medicine. These discoveries and others contributed to vastly increased dairy farm productivity in the United States and worldwide. This review will include the discussion of the centers of excellence and scientists who labored in these fields to produce the harvest of knowledge we enjoy today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5639-5652
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume95
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Keywords

  • Evolution
  • Historical
  • Mammary biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

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