B.S., Illinois State University; M.S. and Ph.D., Michigan State University; Post-Doctoral Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine
Wildt has described the impact of small populations and inbreeding on sperm form and function, including on free-living cheetahs and lions. He and his team have described the biological processes related to reproductive cyclicity, sperm, egg and embryo development in carnivores, especially felids and canids. This information has been used to produce young by assisted breeding technologies. Wildt’s laboratory was the first to produce domestic cat kittens by fertilization, later applied successfully to the tiger. His team conducted the first successful transcontinental shipment of frozen sperm from a threatened species (a wild cheetah in Namibia) to produce a cub by artificial insemination in North America. Most recently, his laboratory produced kits from the critically endangered black-footed ferrets using sperm cryo-banked for 20 years. This is a milestone that increases gene diversity in the recovering population.
Wildt currently focuses on increasing the speed and scale of applying animal expertise and reproductive knowledge to creating sustainable populations through multi-disciplinary/institutional partnerships. For example, his extensive studies in China that increased knowledge about giant pandas; when applied, lessons learned helped more than triple giant panda numbers in the global ex situ collection over the last 15 years. Another example is creation of the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), large-sized breeding facilities. These facilities cooperate and share resources to reproduce animals beyond a traditional urban zoo model. Here, breeding programs for cheetahs and African antelopes are being coordinated on a large-scale in spacious pastures in natural group sizes with minimal public interference. Such partnerships, including those with private sector ranchers, increase the number of animals in insurance populations and available for scientific discovery, all while striving for self-sustainability.
Wildt has received scientific achievement awards from American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and Illinois State University. He has also delivered keynote lectures at prestigious conferences including the International Embryo Transfer Society, European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, and American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
Proteomic analysis of germinal vesicles in the domestic cat model reveals candidate nuclear proteins involved in oocyte competence acquisition
. Molecular Human Reproduction
, 14-26. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molehr/gax059
Lee, P. C., Wildt, David E. and Comizzoli, Pierre. 2018.
Circumventing the natural, frequent oestrogen waves of the female cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) using oral progestin (Altrenogest)
. Reproduction Fertility and Development
, 1486-1498. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/RD16007
Crosier, Adrienne E., Comizzoli, Pierre, Koester, Diana C. and Wildt, David E. 2017.
Koester, Diana C., Wildt, David E., Brown, Janine L., Meeks, Karen and Crosier, Adrienne E. 2017.