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Latest news from the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.
If a worker behaves altruistically and helps rear her sisters' offspring, she will ensure that her matrigenes -- those genes she inherits from her queen mother -- are passed on to the next generation. This image shows honey bee workers caring for their queen mother by grooming her.
January 11, 2016

Using modern genetic approaches, a team of researchers has provided strong support for the long-standing, but hotly debated, evolutionary theory of kin selection, which suggests that altruistic behavior occurs as a way to pass genes to the next generation.

A Penn State survey will ask farmers in the Chesapeake Bay watershed about conservation measures they have implemented — such as streambank fencing and vegetative buffers — in an effort to show agriculture's contributions to protecting water quality.
January 8, 2016

Farm operators in the Chesapeake Bay watershed soon will have a chance to highlight what steps they have taken to protect and enhance water quality in the region. Several agricultural and governmental organizations have partnered to develop a survey that will ask producers to document conservation practices they have adopted to promote water quality and soil health in the bay watershed.

Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville conducts studies and educational programs related to fruit production systems, integrated pest management, fruit diseases and other topics. State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania funding for graduate-student housing at the center will enhance research and bolster the regional economy.
January 8, 2016

Penn State graduate students and visiting scientists from other institutions play a critical role in many studies conducted at Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville, Adams County. And now, thanks to the financial support of the State Horticultural Association of Pennsylvania, new graduate-student housing at the center will help ensure those contributions into the future.

January 8, 2016

The recent Reed v. Town of Gilbert Supreme Court case and its implications for municipal sign ordinances will be the topic of a Web-based seminar that will kick off the 2016 Winter/Spring Land Use Webinar Series offered by Penn State Extension.

Dairies receiving the highest scores in each of 10 Pennsylvania districts will be awarded an 18-inch-by-24-inch Dairy of Distinction sign to display in front of their farm.
January 7, 2016

Pennsylvania dairy producers are invited to apply for the Dairy of Distinction award from the Pennsylvania Dairy of Distinction Program. Applications must be submitted by April 15.

Searching for aquatic insects is one step in the First Investigation of Stream Health (FISH) protocol. The number, type and diversity of bugs found helps determine the health of the stream habitat.
January 6, 2016

If you enjoy wildlife, fishing, nature walks, paddle sports and other streamside activities, Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences now is giving you a chance to parlay those interests into becoming a citizen-scientist by observing and recording environmental and ecosystem changes. The only tool needed is a pencil or smartphone.

December 21, 2015

An $80,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), with matching support from the University, will fund five years of advanced training in data reproducibility and entrepreneurship.

A 4-H Seeing Eye Puppy Club greets visitors after a presentation at the College of Agricultural Sciences' exhibit during the 2015 Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg. The Berkey Creamery's 150th anniversary will be the focus of several activities at the 2016 show in January.
December 21, 2015

If you've missed out on the many activities celebrating the Penn State Berkey Creamery's 150th anniversary in 2015, you'll have another chance to participate in "birthday" festivities at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, which takes place Jan. 9-16 in Harrisburg.

With the threat of avian influenza still looming, poultry owners should practice good biosecurity -- such as protecting pastured or backyard flocks from exposure to wild waterfowl -- and learn how to report suspected cases of avian flu to agricultural officials. 
December 18, 2015

Late fall and winter are considered flu season, but not just for humans. Poultry specialists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences point out that the threat of avian influenza also is heightened at this time of year.

December 17, 2015

The Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) has announced the recipients of the Bridges to Translation Pilot Project Funding.

Penn State New Kensington landscape contrating major Ryan Kieffer checks out the hardscaping at the campus Lion Shrine. Kieffer, who started his own business, earned a scholarship from the College of Agricultural Sciences 
December 17, 2015

Ryan Kieffer, a freshman landscape contracting major at Penn State New Kensington, recently was awarded a scholarship by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Kieffer, who runs his own landscaping business, earned a Barbara U. and Daniel J. Eichenlaub Trustee Scholarship. Established last year by Penn State alumnus Daniel Eichenlaub and his wife, Barbara, the scholarship helps the college support talented students. The Eichenlaubs geared their scholarship to first-year Ag Sciences students.

Patterson said the mice ate only a small amount of the compound to lead to metabolic benefits. For a human, the equivalent would be a single dose in pill form once a day.
December 15, 2015

A bile acid that can turn off a receptor in the gut has prevented and reversed fatty liver disease in mice, according to an international team of researchers. The compound may help treat certain metabolic disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well.

Several members of the Penn State Millennium Scholars attended the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in November. All of them received travel grants from the University to attend the conference in Seattle.
December 14, 2015

Penn State’s Millennium Scholars Program is growing, both in size and in the eyes of the national STEM community. The program’s third class, or cohort, is finishing up its first semester at University Park, and already the students' degree options have grown to encompass the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences, and College of Information Sciences and Technology. Additionally, members of the first and second cohorts, now sophomores and juniors, have just returned from presenting their research at the nationally recognized Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS).

When they return from the holiday break, customers of the Berkey Creamery retail store — including the Nittany Lion — will have to wait until renovations are complete, likely in mid-February, to get their ice cream fix.
December 14, 2015

For much of winter break and the beginning of the spring semester, the Berkey Creamery retail store will be closed due to major renovations. The store, located on the ground floor of the Rodney A. Erickson Food Science Building on Curtin Road, is expected to remain closed from 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 23 to mid-February.

Fall Commencement at Penn State 2014
December 11, 2015

Following is a compilation of fall 2015 commencement ceremonies and speaker information for Penn State's 24 locations.

Wildlife biologist Calvin DuBrock, who directed wildlife management policy for the Pennsylvania Game Commission for 23 years, will serve a term of up to six years as Penn State's Goddard Chair.
December 11, 2015

Calvin DuBrock, retired director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Bureau of Wildlife Management, recently was named the Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resource Conservation in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Malaria mosquitoes find their way to humans by responding to odors leaving the house. Many mosquitoes enter the house through the eave -- the gap between the roof and the walls.
December 11, 2015

In collaboration with partners in Europe and Africa, researchers at Penn State have received a five-year, $10.2-million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to investigate a new method for preventing the transmission of malaria. The method involves limiting mosquito access to houses by blocking openings and installing "eave tubes" that contain a unique type of insecticide-laced mosquito netting developed by Dutch partner In2Care that kills the insects as they attempt to enter.

Producers can study the lessons at their leisure in their own home. The courses are intended for beginning producers and for those who wish to start a livestock operation in the future.
December 10, 2015

Beef, sheep, meat-goat and swine producers looking for information on how to make their livestock enterprises more profitable can take advantage of four home-study courses offered by Penn State Extension this winter.

December 10, 2015

The royalties paid for components of so-called wet gas in some natural-gas production will be the topic of a Web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.