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Agilent, Yale University, Agilix, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Lexicon Genetics, Applera, The Brigham & Women s Hospital


Agilent, of Palo Alto, Calif., received US Patent No. 6,773,676, “Devices for performing array hybridization assays and methods of using the same.” The patent covers array hybridization devices and methods for their use. The subject devices are characterized by having a substantially planar bottom surface, a cover, at least one fluid port, and at least one adjustable spacing element for adjusting the spacing between an array and the bottom surface. In using the devices, an array is placed on at least one adjustable spacing element in the chamber, and the space between the array and the bottom surface is adjusted by moving at least one adjustable spacing element. The adjusted array is contacted with at least one biological sample introduced into the chamber. The inventions find use in a variety of array-based applications, including nucleic acid array hybridizations.

Yale University and Agilix, both of New Haven, Conn., received US Patent No. 6,773,886, “Binary encoded sequence tags.” The patent covers a method for the comprehensive analysis of nucleic acid samples and a detector composition for use in the method. The method, referred to as Binary Encoded Sequence Tags (BEST), involves the generation of a set of nucleic acid fragments; adding an adaptor to the ends containing recognition site for cleavage at a site offset from the recog-nition site; cleaving the fragment to generate fragments having a plurality of sticky ends; and indexing of the fragments into sets based on the sequence of sticky ends. The fragments are indexed by adding an offset adaptor to newly generated ends. A different adaptor will be coupled to each different sticky end. The resulting fragments — which will have defined ends, be of equal lengths (in preferred embodiment), and a central sequence derived from the source nucleic acid molecule — are binary sequence tags. The binary sequence tags can be used and further analyzed in numerous ways. For example, the binary sequence tags can be captured by hybridization and coupling, preferably by ligation, to a probe. The probe is preferably immobilized in an array or on sortable beads. One form of the BEST method, referred to as modification assisted analysis of binary sequence tags (MAABST), assesses modification of sequences in nucleic acid molecules by detecting differential cleavage based on the presence or absence of modification in the molecules.

Pioneer Hi-Bred International, based in Des Moines, Iowa, received US Patent No. 6,774,282, “Maize metallothionein gene and promoter.” The patent covers compositions and methods for regulating the expression of heterologous nucleotide sequences in a plant. Compositions include a novel nucleotide sequence for a root-preferred promoter for the gene encoding, a metallothionein gene, and sequences isolated therefrom. A method for expressing a heterologous nucleotide sequence in a plant using the promoter sequences also is covered by the patent. The method comprises transforming a plant cell with a nucleotide sequence operably linked to one of the root-preferred promoters of the present invention and regenerating a stably transformed plant that expresses the nucleotide sequence in a root-preferred manner from the transformed plant cell. Compositions and methods for expressing metallothionein genes in plants, plant cells, and tissues are also provided. The compositions comprise nucleotide sequences encoding plant metallothionein. The sequences are useful in transforming plants for tissue-preferred or constitutive expression of metallothionein. Such sequences find use in modulating levels of metal ions in plants and plant tissues.

Lexicon Genetics of The Woodlands, Texas, received US Patent No. 6,773,906, “Human kinase and polynucleotides encoding the same.” Novel human polynucleotide and polypeptide sequences are disclosed that can be used in therapeutic, diagnostic, and pharmacogenomic applications.

Applera, based in Norwalk, Conn., received US Patent No. 6,773,904, “Isolated human Ras-like proteins, nucleic acid molecules encoding these human Ras-like proteins, and uses thereof.” The patent covers amino acid sequences of polypeptides that are encoded by genes within the human genome, the Ras-like protein polypeptides of the present invention. The patent specifically covers isolated polypeptide and nucleic acid molecules, methods of identifying orthologs and paralogs of the Ras-like protein polypeptides, and methods of identifying modulators of the Ras-like protein polypeptides.

The Brigham & Women’s Hospital, based in Boston, received US Patent No. 6,773,883, “Prognostic classification of endometrial cancer.” The patent covers sets of genes that are expressed differentially in normal and malignant endometrium. These sets of genes can be used to discriminate between normal and malignant endo-metrial tissues. Accordingly, diagnostic assays for classification of tumors, prediction of tumor outcome, selecting and monitoring treatment regimens, and monitoring tumor progression and regression also are covered under the patent.

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.