Impaired reproduction in farmed animals is a major cost to agriculture, and this is exacerbated by the implementation of intensive production systems. Addressing this has been the focus of a significant body of research. While considerable advances have been made in biological experiments and understanding, a systems insight into the mechanisms that underlie reproductive function in mammals is needed. Mathematical modelling offers a means to develop a systems approach to reproduction by coalescing information and predicting outcomes of interventions. There has been steady progress in the development of mathematical models addressing various issues of reproduction over the last decade, from cell-signalling pathways through to herd management. We review these developments and their insights as well as their limitations. In addition, we identify other areas that need development, and how modelling might usefully contribute to these areas of reproduction science. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.
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