blog postsLife SciencesAgricultureStudy finds parallels between unresponsive honey bees, autism in humansJul 31, 2017 2:00 pm1259 views Honey bees that consistently fail to respond to obvious social cues share something fundamental with autistic humans, researchers report in a new study. Genes most closely associated with autism spectrum disorders in humans are regulated differently in unresponsive honey bees than in their more responsive nest mates, the study found.AgricultureTwo undergrads improve plant carbon-cycle modelsJul 24, 2017 10:00 am577 views In the summer of 2012, two undergraduate students tackled a problem that plant ecology experts had overlooked for 30 years. The students demonstrated that different plant species vary in how they take in carbon dioxide and emit water through stomata, the pores in their leaves. The data boosted the accuracy of mathematical models of carbon and water fluxes through plant leaves by 30 to 60 percent.Physical SciencesAgricultureEngineeringLife SciencesCorn better used as food than biofuel, study findsJun 20, 2017 9:00 am3098 views Corn is grown not only for food, it is also an important renewable energy source. Renewable biofuels can come with hidden economic and environmental issues, and the question of whether corn is better utilized as food or as a biofuel has persisted since ethanol came into use. For the first time, researchers at the University of Illinois have quantified and compared these issues in terms of economics of the entire production system to determine if the benefits of biofuel corn outweigh the costs.Life SciencesAgricultureGenetic study shakes up the elephant family treeJun 6, 2017 3:00 am2607 views New research reveals that a species of giant elephant that lived 1.5 million to 100,000 years ago – ranging across Eurasia before it went extinct – is more closely related to today’s African forest elephant than the forest elephant is to its nearest living relative, the African savanna elephant.HealthAgricultureBusinessPaper: Nutrition label readers favor food quality over quantityApr 18, 2017 8:45 am1237 views Although nutrition-label users eat roughly the same amount of food as less-discerning diners, the two groups diverge when it comes to the quality of the food they eat, says a new paper co-written by Brenna Ellison, a professor of agriculture and consumer economics at Illinois and an expert in consumer food preferences and behaviors.Life SciencesAgricultureEngineeringHealthPhysical SciencesSocial SciencesScience at Illinois feeds the world, furthers health, protects the planetApr 17, 2017 8:30 am1146 views Illinois scientists are helping power plants run more efficiently, designing better, longer-lasting batteries, finding new ways to target cancerous tumors, and developing robots that can aid in construction, in agricultural fields and even inside the human body.Life SciencesAgricultureTeam nebulizes aphids to knock down gene expressionMar 17, 2017 2:45 pm864 views Researchers are nebulizing soybean aphids with RNA to speed the process of discovering the function of many mystery genes.Life SciencesAgricultureReport: Milkweed losses may not fully explain monarch butterfly declinesMar 13, 2017 4:15 pm2607 views Monarch butterfly declines cannot be attributed merely to declines in milkweed abundance, researchers report.AgricultureEngineeringHand-picked specialty crops ‘ripe’ for precision agriculture techniquesMar 2, 2017 9:15 am2318 views Using precision agriculture, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed an algorithm to help producers of hand-picked crops such as strawberries determine the optimal time to transport their highly perishable crop from the field to cold storage.Life SciencesAgricultureHumanitiesStudy rewrites early history of corn in corn countryFeb 14, 2017 8:15 am1362 views A new study contradicts decades of thought, research and teaching on the history of corn cultivation in the American Bottom, a floodplain of the Mississippi River in Illinois. The study refutes the notion that Indian corn, or maize, was cultivated in this region hundreds of years before its widespread adoption at about 1000 A.D.Life SciencesAgricultureSurvival of many of the world’s nonhuman primates is in doubt, experts reportJan 18, 2017 1:00 pm1428 views A report in the journal Science Advances details the grim realities facing a majority of the nonhuman primates in the world – the apes, monkeys, tarsiers, lemurs and lorises inhabiting ever-shrinking forests across the planet. The review is the most comprehensive conducted so far, the researchers say, and the picture it paints is dire.AgricultureLife SciencesPollinator habitat program spreads bad seeds with the goodDec 7, 2016 8:30 am7380 views Weed scientists in at least two Midwestern states have been reporting for years that a conservation program meant to provide habitat for pollinating insects is sowing bad seeds – including seeds of the potentially devastating agricultural weed Palmer amaranth – along with the good. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois have traced the weed seeds to at least one source: pollinator habitat seed sold by a company in the Midwest.HonorsAgricultureAnnouncementsEngineeringHealthLife SciencesPhysical SciencesEight Illinois researchers rank among world’s most influentialNov 18, 2016 9:15 am6270 views Eight University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters / Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers list for 2016. The list identifies scientists “whose research has had significant global impact within their respective fields of study."AgricultureLife SciencesScientists tweak photosynthesis to boost crop yieldNov 17, 2016 1:00 pm2607 views Researchers report that they can increase plant productivity by boosting levels of three proteins involved in photosynthesis. This confirms a hypothesis some in the scientific community once doubted was possible.AgricultureLivestock donation programs reduce poverty, improve food security and nutritionOct 11, 2016 9:00 am847 views Research from U. of I. agricultural economists Peter Goldsmith and Alex Winter-Nelson found that the direct donation of livestock to impoverished communities in rural Africa had numerous positive effects ranging from a reduction in poverty to an increase in gender empowerment.AgricultureLife SciencesIllinois growers are running out of options in fight against waterhempSep 14, 2016 8:00 am852 views Resistance to multiple herbicides is the new norm for populations of waterhemp, a common agricultural weed. With their herbicide options dwindling and nothing new on the horizon, Illinois growers must be strategic in how they manage waterhemp-infested fields, says a University of Illinois expert on crop weed management.AgricultureLife SciencesStudy: Future drought will offset benefits of higher CO2 on soybean yieldsSep 5, 2016 10:00 am948 views An eight-year study of soybeans grown outdoors in a carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere like that expected by 2050 has yielded a new and worrisome finding: Higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations will boost plant growth under ideal growing conditions, but drought – expected to worsen as the climate warms and rainfall patterns change – will outweigh those benefits and cause yield losses much sooner than anticipated.AgricultureEngineeringLife SciencesPhysical SciencesMeasure of age in soil nitrogen could help precision agricultureJul 25, 2016 8:00 am1567 views University of Illinois engineers developed a model to calculate the age of nitrogen in corn and soybean fields, which could lead to improved fertilizer application techniques to promote crop growth while reducing leaching.AnnouncementsAgricultureKidwell named College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences deanJul 15, 2016 9:15 am2589 views Currently the executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University, Kimberlee Kidwell will be the new U. of I. dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences effective Nov. 1, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. She also will hold the inaugural Robert A. Easter Chair.AgricultureLife SciencesU. of I. alumna Temple Grandin elected to the American Academy of Arts and SciencesApr 21, 2016 9:30 am1923 views Temple Grandin, a University of Illinois alumna and a professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.Life SciencesAgricultureStudy suggests commercial bumble bee industry amplified a fungal pathogen of beesApr 4, 2016 2:00 pm1716 views Scientists hoping to explain widespread declines in wild bumble bee populations have conducted the first long-term genetic study of Nosema bombi, a key fungal pathogen of honey bees and bumble bees. Their study found that Nosema infections in large-scale commercial bumble bee pollination operations coincided with infections and declines in wild bumble bees.AgricultureGiant reed is a photosynthetic outlier, study findsMar 7, 2016 11:30 am945 views Arundo donax, a giant reed that grows in the Mediterranean climate zones of the world, isn’t like other prolific warm-weather grasses, researchers report. This grass, which can grow annually to 6 meters (nearly 20 feet) in height, uses a type of photosynthesis that is more common to crop plants like soybeans, rice and peanuts.AgricultureHealthConsumer perception of organic foods affected by food type and where they’re soldJan 14, 2016 9:00 am762 views The organic food industry has grown from fresh produce and grains to snack foods and condiments – from farmers markets to supercenters. Has this new variety in organic products, and the availability of them, affected consumers’ perceptions?AgricultureLife SciencesStudy: Second-generation biofuels can reduce emissionsJan 11, 2016 10:30 am1342 views Second-generation biofuel crops like the perennial grasses Miscanthus and switchgrass can efficiently meet emission reduction goals without significantly displacing cropland used for food production, according to a new study. Researchers from the University of Illinois and collaborators published their findings in the inaugural edition of the journal Nature Energy. The researchers call it the most comprehensive study on the subject to date.Life SciencesAgriculturePhysical SciencesSeven Illinois researchers rank among the world’s most influentialDec 21, 2015 9:15 am8251 views Seven University of Illinois researchers have been named to the Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researchers list for 2015. The list includes “some of the world’s most influential scientific minds,” according to a statement from Thomson Reuters.AgricultureExport of wood pellets from US to EU more environmentally friendly than coalNov 20, 2015 9:30 am1134 views A new study co-written by Madhu Khanna, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois, found that harvesting wood pellets in the U.S. and exporting them to the EU was more environmentally friendly than burning coal in the EU to generate electricity.AgricultureHealthLinks between hunger and health lead to recommendation that doctors screen patients for food insecurityNov 5, 2015 2:00 pm124 views Almost 50 million people in the United States are food insecure – that is, they lack access to adequate food because of limited money or other resources. University of Illinois economist Craig Gundersen and University of Kentucky’s James P. Ziliak examined recent research on food insecurity and its association with poor health, and offer suggestions including that doctors screen for hunger.AgricultureLife SciencesStudy: Ground-level ozone reduces maize and soybean yieldsNov 5, 2015 9:00 am797 views Despite government regulations, ground-level ozone – an odorless gas that forms as polluting nitrogen oxides drift in sunlight across the countryside – continues to threaten crop quality and yield. In a new study, researchers quantify this loss from historical yield data for the first time. They show that over the last 30 years, ozone emissions have reduced soybean and corn yields by 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively.AgricultureLife SciencesPineapple genome offers insight into photosynthesis in drought-tolerant plantsNov 2, 2015 10:00 am1680 views By sequencing its genome, scientists are homing in on the genes and genetic pathways that allow the juicy pineapple plant to thrive in water-limited environments. The new findings, reported in the journal Nature Genetics, also open a new window on the complicated evolutionary history of grasses like sorghum and rice, which share a distant ancestor with pineapple.AgricultureLife SciencesStudy identifies chemical in diet that determines a honey bee’s casteAug 28, 2015 1:00 pm1360 views A closer look at how honey bee colonies determine which larvae will serve as workers and which will become queens reveals that a plant chemical, p-coumaric acid, plays a key role in the bees’ developmental fate.AgricultureEducationMaster Naturalists needed to preserve Illinois' environmentAug 11, 2015 1:00 pm419 views Adults who have a passion for the outdoors – and are interested in sharing that with others – are needed statewide as volunteers in the University of Illinois Extension Master Naturalist program.AgricultureLife SciencesChill-tolerant hybrid sugarcane also grows at lower temperatures, team findsJul 28, 2015 8:00 am1286 views U.S. farmers have long hoped to extend sugarcane’s growing range northward from the Gulf coast, substantially increasing the land available for sugar and biofuels. Several hybrid canes developed in the 1980s have proved hardy in cooler climes, surviving overwinter as far north as Booneville, Arkansas. But until now, no one had tested whether these “miscanes,” as they are called, actually photosynthesize, and thus continue to grow, when the thermometer dips.Physical SciencesAgricultureEngineeringStudy: Groundwater from aquifers important factor in food securityJun 29, 2015 2:00 pm321 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Thirsty cities, fields and livestock drink deeply from aquifers, natural sources of groundwater. But a study of three of the most-tapped aquifers in the United States shows that overdrawing from these resources could lead to difficult choices affecting not only domestic food security but also international markets.AgricultureLife SciencesPhysical SciencesStudy: Crop rotation-resistant rootworms have a lot going on in their gutsJun 9, 2015 3:00 pm202 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — After decades of effort, scientists are finally figuring out how insects develop resistance to environmentally friendly farming practices – such as crop rotation – that are designed to kill them. The researchers say their insights will help develop more sustainable agricultural practices.Life SciencesAgriculturePlant breeder boosts soybean diversity, develops soybean rust-resistant plantMay 12, 2015 2:30 pm309 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — It took decades of painstaking work, but research geneticist Ram Singh managed to cross a popular soybean variety (“Dwight” Glycine max) with a related wild perennial plant that grows like a weed in Australia, producing the first fertile soybean plants that are resistant to soybean rust, soybean cyst nematode and other pathogens of soy.Physical SciencesAgricultureEngineeringNew method helps map species' genetic heritageDec 11, 2014 9:00 am49 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Where did the songbird get its song? What branch of the bird family tree is closer to the flamingo - the heron or the sparrow?Physical SciencesAgricultureEngineeringBioenergy crops could store more carbon in soilOct 2, 2014 9:00 am442 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In addition to providing renewable energy, grass crops like switchgrass and miscanthus could store some of the carbon they pull from the atmosphere in the soil, according to a new study by University of Illinois researchers.CampusAgricultureEngineeringIllinois engineer wins MacArthur fellowshipSep 17, 2014 9:00 am262 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tami Bond, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been awarded a 2014 MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as a "genius grant," from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.Expert ViewpointsAgricultureHealthSolving food insecurity problems among older AmericansJun 5, 2014 9:00 am39 views A Minute With™... Craig Gundersen, the University of Illinois Soybean Industry Endowed Professor of Agricultural StrategyAgricultureDrones give farmers eyes in the sky to check on crop progressJun 4, 2014 9:00 am645 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - This growing season, crop researchers at the University of Illinois are experimenting with the use of drones - unmanned aerial vehicles - on the university's South Farms.Expert ViewpointsAgricultureHealthLabeling genetically engineered foodMay 28, 2014 9:00 am54 views A Minute With™... Bruce M. Chassy, a professor emeritus of food science and human nutritionArtsAgricultureHumanitiesNew master's program at Illinois will train translators and interpretersApr 29, 2013 9:00 am25 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The demand for translators and interpreters is projected to increase by at least 20 percent by the year 2020, and a new program at the University of Illinois will offer a master's degree to equip graduates to fill those jobs. Elizabeth Lowe, the director of the U. of I.'s Center for Translation Studies, says the program offers both on-campus and online options, and is accepting applications now for courses that will begin in the fall.AgricultureLife SciencesMolecular techniques are man's new best friend in pet obesity researchApr 9, 2013 9:00 am48 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - According to the World Health Organization, more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. And it's not just humans who are packing on the pounds. Our furry companions are plagued by an obesity epidemic of their own. More than 50 percent of the dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese.ArtsAgricultureBusinessZoning restrictions also a key factor in foreclosure crisis, scholar saysMar 28, 2013 9:00 am41 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The causes of the foreclosure crisis seem obvious: Buyers purchased homes they couldn't afford, lured in part by lenders pushing subprime mortgages. Real estate values escalated, and when the bubble burst, buyers were left owing more than their homes were worth.Campus LifeAgricultureArtsHumanitiesCarr visiting author series to showcase two acclaimed poetsJan 29, 2013 9:00 am5 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Kathleen Graber - a former high school English teacher who was inspired to write poetry after taking students on a field trip - will read from her critically acclaimed collections at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 13 (Wednesday) at the Illini Union Bookstore.Expert ViewpointsAgricultureBusinessDrought, crop insurance, and farm profitabilityAug 8, 2012 9:00 am30 views A Minute With™... Gary D. Schnitkey, an agricultural economistExpert ViewpointsAgricultureWhat's the potential impact of herbicide-resistant weeds on agriculture in the U.S.?Apr 18, 2012 9:00 am67 views A Minute With™... Aaron Hager, a faculty member in the department of crop sciencesExpert ViewpointsAgricultureHealthWhat the media call 'pink slime' is not new or dangerousApr 3, 2012 9:00 am17 views A Minute With™... Anna Dilger, a professor of animal sciencesAgricultureLife SciencesResearcher tracks agricultural overuse of bug-killing technologyFeb 29, 2012 9:00 am56 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - High corn prices are leading many growers to plant corn every year and to overuse pesticides and other bug-killing technology to maximize yields, researchers report. In many instances, pesticides are applied without scouting fields to see if they are needed, violating a bedrock principle of integrated pest management. The result is a biological diversity desert in many corn and soybean fields in the agricultural Midwest, and signs that the surviving insects are becoming resistant to several key bug-fighting tools now available to farmers.BusinessAgricultureLawExpert: Keep consumer protection agency free of 'regulatory capture'Jan 9, 2012 9:00 am23 views CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - With many Americans now spending most of their adult lives owing debts to financial institutions, the need for a consumer financial agency free of "regulatory capture" is now more acute than ever, according to a University of Illinois expert in consumer credit.