The Comparative Medicine Site
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a well known disorder that occurs in offspring of mothers who drink during pregnancy resulting in physical, behavioral and cognitive abnormalities, and is the “most common human teratogen” (Thackray and Tifft, 2001) . Pigs are very similar to humans anatomically, physically and behaviorally and are a good biomedical model for human disorders. We are looking at the affects maternal drinking has on offspring development (by measuring sow performance and offspring nursing behavior), anxiety (open field and approach test), learning and cognition (mazes), coping ability (backtest), social status (teat order, food competition and socialization), and brain activity (fMRI). We are working on a whole animal model for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that will help answer questions about how Fetal Alcohol Syndrome affects development and influence learning behaviors, and the susceptibility to becoming an alcoholic at adolescence in the pig model.