Black Forest Express

Pennsylvania Mountain Laurel                                                                                             Gerri Miller

Monday’s high, 78; Overnight low, 53; .54” rain







To hear today’s complete forecast, click on start button below:

Penn State Study reveals  Northeastern deer more susceptible to CWD infection than those to the west…Work continues on Route 155 bridge replacement near Port Allegany….Minor injuries in rear-end collision near Mansfield…Tioga driver unhurt in car/deer collision….Knoxville man accused of annoying woman….

To hear today’s podcast, click on start button below:

Some deer are more susceptible to chronic wasting disease that is spreading through herds of white-tailed deer across much of the country, according to Penn State researchers, who have identified a panel of genetic markers that reliably predict which animals are most vulnerable to the contagious neurological disorder.”The genetic variants that would make deer less susceptible to chronic wasting disease are in much lower frequency in the East, likely because they weren’t needed,” said David Walter, adjunct assistant professor of wildlife ecology. “Over a long period of time, their survivability may have been somehow favored by losing these genotypes.They weren’t important until a disease like chronic wasting disease showed up. We have seen that deer with the more susceptible genotypes are in the majority.”Over the last decade or so, Walter’s research group in the College of Agricultural Sciences has been studying how the movement, behavior and genetics of wild deer are affecting the spread of chronic wasting disease. Often referred to as CWD, it is a fatal disease affecting the deer family, and belongs to a group of similar diseases such as mad cow disease and scrapie in sheep, called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. After testing more than 2,200 deer killed by hunters in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, researchers identified 11 different subpopulations of deer in the Mid-Atlantic region where a chronic wasting disease outbreak is occurring. The researchers used more than 700 DNA samples from Pennsylvania deer to assess genetic susceptibility to the disease in the subpopulations, and those results were published earlier this year in Prion.

“Deer in the Mid-Atlantic region have a higher proportion of the genotypes most susceptible to CWD than deer populations to the West that have been tested in other states,” said Walter. He noted that the disease was first seen in mule deer in Colorado in 1967 and has been spreading eastward across the continent since. It now infects deer and elk in 24 states and several Canadian provinces, and has been found inreindeer, moose and red deer in three Scandinavian countries.

“In the U.S., CWD spreads differently in the East than in the West, because deer numbers and densities are so much higher in the East,” said Walter, assistant unit leader of Penn State’s Pennsylvania Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. “We have been trying to unravel the genetic nuances to understand where chronic wasting disease is likely to show up.”

In earlier published studies, Walter and colleagues determined that geographical features such as rivers, mountain ranges and high ridges have channeled CWD spread in the East. Even manmade features such as highways appear to have influenced deer movement, guiding where CWD in deer has been discovered.

The Walter group’s latest research consolidates the numerous genetic resources for white-tailed deer into a manageable panel of 11 genetic markers to provide a uniform methodology that is likely to improve genetic comparisons. Researchers reviewed “microsatellite” panels from 58 previous or ongoing studies of deer in CWD outbreaks in other regions.

In findings published today May 6 in BMC Genetics, they describe a protocol to differentiate subpopulations of deer and evaluated its efficacy using 720 DNA samples collected from whitetails in the Mid-Atlantic region. In the study, researchers analyzed 2,200 samples from deer in four states to evaluate microsatellites. “The 11 markers we selected are easy to interpret and are likely to provide a common platform to benefit future genetic studies such as those for CWD,” said lead researcher William Miller, former Penn State doctoral student, now an assistant professor of biology at Calvin College in Michigan .

Miller pointed out that many genetic studies conducted previously used different suites of genetic markers.

“We wanted a core panel that will be broadly useful and effective across the white-tailed deer’s range, and we included many of the markers that have been used in studies from states in the Midwest and West,” Miller said. “This panel includes markers that are likely to be useful for evaluating genetic patterns.”

Follow-on studies nearly complete by Miller and Walter’s lab outline a genetic method to determine, when a CWD-positive deer is discovered, where it came from and whether it is a wild or captive-bred animal. That information will guide wildlife managers’ reaction to the discovery, as they decide whether to establish disease-management areas and targeted removals of deer to slow the spread of CWD.

Also involved in the research were Jessie Edson, genetics laboratory manager in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management; and Peter Pietrandrea, undergraduate researcher and Cassandra Miller-Butterworth, assistant professor of biology, both at Penn State Beaver.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries supported this research.

PennDOT is issuing an update on the progress of a bridge replacement project on Route 155 in Liberty Township, McKean County. The bridge spans Birch Run approximately two miles southeast of Turtlepoint. Temporary signals have been installed and are currently operating in flash mode. They will be fully operational Monday, June 17, at which time they will enforce an alternating traffic pattern as the bridge is replaced in a half-width configuration. Under the alternating pattern, the northbound lane will be closed, and drivers will take turns crossing the bridge in the open southbound lane.  There is a 12-foot lane restriction in place for the open lane. PennDOT will issue an update as work progresses and the traffic pattern changes.The existing 17-foot bridge was built in 1924 and carries an average of nearly 3,000 vehicles per day. The overall project will replace the existing structure with a precast box culvert, widen the roadway, improve drainage, replace guiderail and install new signage.Francis J. Palo, Inc. of Clarion is the contractor on this $796,000 job. PennDOT expects to complete the project by late August. All work is weather and schedule dependent.

Minor injuries were reported following a rear-end collision Monday afternoon in Richmond Township, Tioga County. State police at Mansfield report the collision occurred when Amy Breon  of Lock  Haven stopped her 2011 Cadillac SRX waiting to turn from Route 6 onto The Westgate Road and was rear-ended by a Dodge Neon driven by Scott Reese also of Mansfield. Both drivers refused treatment for their slight injuries. A passenger in Breon’s car, Mariss Trantham of Mansfield was not hurt.

A Tioga PA woman escaped injury when her car hit a deer on Hills Creek Road in Charleston Township Monday morning. Trish Roslund was going south when the deer entered the road from the left side. Roslund could not stop in time but was able to drive the car to a nearby driveway after impact.

State police at Lewis Run are seeking help from the public regarding a hit and rum on Main Street in Otto Township last Friday afternoon. An unknown driver in a Ford F-150 was going east when the pick up went off the road and traveled about 250 feet before impacting a ditch. The truck kept going for another 250 feet before coming to rest in the front yard of a house located at 419 Main Street. The driver then took off headed east on Main Street without notifying police or the property owner. Anyone with information is asked to call State Police at 814.368.9230.

Tristan Ahearn, 20, of Knoxville has been cited for harassing 23 year old Judith Moon of that town late at night on May 25. Troopers claim Ahearn caused an annoyance for Moon for no legitimate purpose.