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


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

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.