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Affymetrix, Picoliter, Monsanto Technology of St. Louis, Pitney Bowes, Althea Technologies

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Affymetrix received US Patent No. 6,613,527, “Electrochemical denaturation of double-stranded nucleic acid.” The patent covers a process for denaturing native double-stranded nucleic acid material into its individual strands by using an electrode to apply voltage to nucleic acid material, and a compound such as methyl viologen. The process may be used in the detection of nucleic acid by hybridizing with a labeled probe or in the amplification of DNA by a polymerase chain reaction or ligase chain reaction.

The company also received US Patent No. 6,613,516, “Preparation of nucleic acid samples.” The patent covers a enrichment and labeling strategy for ribonucleic acids. In one embodiment, the system provides a method for studying a population of interest by diminishing the presence of a target sequence. Further, the invention can be used to reproducibly label and detect extremely small amounts of nucleic acids.


Picoliter of Sunnyvale, Calif., received US Patent No. 6,612,686, “Focused acoustic energy in the preparation and screening of combinatorial libraries.” The patent covers a system for using sound to eject fluid droplets from reservoirs to prepare combinatorial libraries for microarrays.


Monsanto Technology of St. Louis earned US Patent No. 6,617,112, “Methods for gene array analysis of nuclear runoff transcripts.” The patent covers a system for determining the transcription rate of mRNA in eukaryotic cells using nuclear runoff transcription. In this process labeled RNA molecules are hybridized against an array of 500 nucleic acid molecule probes representing, at least, part of the genome of the organism, in order to count mRNA transcripts in the cells. A rate of degradation for distinct mRNA in the cell may be determined by comparing steady-state mRNA with nuclear runoff mRNA. Steady-state-to-nuclear-runoff ratios are used to determine gene and mRNA structure relationships that lead to gene expression and mRNA stability, predict structural determinants for mRNA stability, and predict regulatory motifs for transcription rates.


Pitney Bowes of Stamford, Conn., received US Patent No. 6,613,571, “Method and system for detecting biological and chemical hazards in mail.” The patent covers a system for detecting chemical or biological hazards in a sealed mailbox. The sensors within the system can include a DNA array manufactured by Egea Biosciences of San Diego, the inventors said.


Althea Technologies of San Diego received US Patent No. 6,618,679, “Methods for analysis of gene expression.” The patent covers methods for high throughput gene-expression analysis and profiling — plus data collection and relational data analysis.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.