Introduction

If a pregnancy is to be established successfully, a conceptus must signal its presence to the maternal system, which in turn must adjust her physiology to the needs of her developing offspring. This series of events is often termed maternal recognition of pregnancy (MRP). One crucial aspect of MRP in the domestic livestock species is that ovarian cyclicity must be interrupted and corpus luteum (CL) lifespan extended, although the embryo most likely makes its presence known to the mother well before it intervenes in events of the estrous cycle by releasing bioactive compounds ''sensed'' by local maternal tissues. However, embryo transfer can be completed successfully until quite late in development, suggesting that the very early signals are relatively unimportant to the long-term effects on pregnancy outcome.

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