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Preview: AP Top Science News At 7:06 a.m. EST

AP Top Science News at 8:23 a.m. EDT

AP Top Science News at 8:23 a.m. EDT

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Modest gains, but US students still lag in science learning
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The vast majority of U.S. students still lack a solid grasp of science despite some modest gains by fourth and eighth graders, especially girls and minorities....

Report: Wildlife populations halved on average since '70s
LONDON (AP) -- Global wildlife populations have fallen an average of 58 percent from 1970 levels, with human activity reducing the numbers of elephants in Tanzania, maned wolves in Brazil, salamanders in the United States and orcas in the waters of Europe, researchers say....

Powerful quakes wreak new havoc in Italian mountain towns
VISSO, Italy (AP) -- Authorities scrambled to find housing Thursday for thousands of people displaced by a pair of strong earthquakes that struck the same region of central Italy hit by a deadly quake in August, hoping to prevent a second night for them on the street or in cars....

Cholesterol test for 1-year-olds? Study says it could help
What if a blood test could reveal that your child is at high risk for early heart disease years in the future, giving you a chance to prevent it now? A big study in England did that - screening thousands of babies for inherited risk - and found it was twice as common as has been thought....

Rehabilitated orangutans freed in Borneo as species dwindles
KEHJE SEWEN FOREST, Indonesia (AP) -- Jamur didn't hesitate as the door of her temporary cramped quarters slid open. In less than a second, the stocky red-haired orangutan was savoring freedom for the first time in nearly two decades....

Girls & autism: It can be subtle, or absent for some at risk
CHICAGO (AP) -- Think autism and an image of an awkward boy typically emerges. The developmental disorder is at least four times more common in boys, but scientists taking a closer look are finding some gender-based surprises: Many girls with autism have social skills that can mask the condition. And some girls are born without autism despite the same genetic mutations seen in boys with the condition....

Long, curved, akimbo: Hope uncovered for bird beak deformity
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- Biologist Colleen Handel saw her first black-capped chickadee with the heartrending disorder in 1998....

Oregon weighs whether all kids should get outdoor education
MOUNT HOOD NATIONAL FOREST, Ore. (AP) -- Each year, thousands of Oregon parents hug their kids goodbye and send them tramping into the wilderness for up to a week to learn about their state's natural wonders....

Experts hope mosquito-borne bacteria can beat the Zika virus
LONDON (AP) -- Researchers are trying to infect mosquitoes in Brazil and Colombia with a type of bacteria that could prevent them from spreading the Zika virus and other dangerous diseases....

Plunging solar equipment prices fuel trade complaints
BEIJING (AP) -- Use of solar power is soaring, but Europe's biggest solar panel manufacturer, SolarWorld, took the surprise step last month of cutting 500 jobs from its workforce of 3,000....