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Affymetrix, California Institute of Technology, Nanogen, Luminex


Affymetrix received US Patent No. 6,554,986, “Capillary array electrophoresis scanner.” The patent covers a confocal fluorescence scanner that can detect analytes separated on over 1,000 capillaries simultaneously. This system uses a confocal microscope objective and mirror assembly that rotates inside a vertical ring of capillaries to provide rapid and efficient excitation and detection in four colors of fluorescently labeled fragments separated within a cylindrical capillary array. Use of automated procedures to load and run all capillaries permits one to read more than 350,000 base pairs of raw sequence data per hour. The invention was made under a grant from the advanced technology program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


The California Institute of Technology of Pasadena, Calif., received US Patent No. 6,555,692, “Preparation and use of bifunctional molecules having DNA sequence binding specificity.” The patent covers novel small molecule polyamides that specifically bind with subnanomolar affinity to a predetermined sequence with potential for use in molecular biology and human medicine. The designed compounds, which target the minor groove of B-form double-helical DNA, offer a general approach for the control of gene expression. Rules are disclosed that provide for rational control of the DNA-binding sequence specificity of synthetic polyamides containing N-methylpyrrole and N-methylimidazole amino acids. A series of molecular templates for polyamide design are disclosed, which provide for small molecules that recognize predetermined DNA sequences with affinities and specificities comparable to sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins. The pyrrole-imidazole polyamides described represent a class of designed small molecules that can bind any predetermined sequence of double helical DNA.


Nanogen of San Diego received US Patent No. 6,540,961, “Multicomponent devices for molecular biological analysis and diagnostics.” The patent covers an electronic device that performs active biological operations such as the analysis of a solution containing DNA or charged biological materials.


Luminex of Austin, Texas, received US Patent No. 6,528,165, “Encapsulation of discrete quanta of fluorescent particles.” The patent covers a method for encapsulation compositions and methods, particularly fluorescent capsule compositions, which consist of a layer of a polymer shell enclosing one or more fluorescent mater-ials such as fluorescent microspheres, which are capable of emitting at least two distinct fluorescent signals.

The Scan

Just Breathing

A new analysis suggests that most Mycobacterium tuberculosis is spread by aerosols from breathing, rather than by coughing, the New York Times reports.

Just Like This One

NPR reports that the World Health Organization has hired a South African biotech company to recreate mRNA vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 that is similar to the one developed by Moderna.

Slow Start

The Wall Street Journal reports that Biogen's Alzheimer's disease treatment had revenues for July through September that totaled $300,000.

Genome Research Papers on Cancer Chromatin, Splicing in the Thymus, Circular RNAs in Cancer

In Genome Research this week: analysis of bivalent chromatin sites, RBFOX splicing factors' role in thymic epithelial cells, and more.