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Amersham Biosciences, Tetragen, University of South Florida, Varian


Amersham Biosciences of Sunnyvale, Calif., was granted US Patent No. 6,764,648, “Robotic microchannel bioanalytical instrument.” The patent covers a substrate with a plurality of microchannels that is movably deployed with other movable objects and will load sample into the microchannels, stimulate molecular migration, read the results of the migration, remove and replace the substrate, and prepare for a new run. The other objects include a gripper for engaging and moving the substrate, an electrode array of fine wires suitable for fitting into the microchannels for electromigration, and a scanning detector for reading migration results. A sequence of automatic operations is established so that one substrate after another may be moved into position, loaded with sample, stimulated for molecular migration, read with a beam, and then removed and replaced with a fresh substrate.

Tetragen of Moscow, received US Patent No. 6,762,018, “Analysis of nucleotide polymorphisms at site.” The patent covers the identity of a polymorphic nucleotide in a target sequence having at least two known variants that can be detected by hybridizing at least one primer upstream of the biallelic marker and performing extension reactions using the target DNA with the hybridized primer, where a first reaction is conducted in the absence of a deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate or ribonucleoside triphosphate complementary to the first known variant, and a second reaction is conducted in absence of a deoxyribonucleoside triphosphate or ribonucleoside triphosphate complementary to the second known variant. Determining the lengths of the primers and any extension products from both reactions will indicate which variant or variants are present in a DNA sample.

University of South Florida, Tampa received US Patent No. 6,764,796, “Maskless photolithography using plasma displays.” The patent covers a maskless photolithography system and method using a plasma display for creating two-dimensional and three-dimensional structures. The invention does not require masks, templates, or stencils to create each of the planes or layers on a multi-layer two-dimensional or three-dimensional structure. It employs a plasma display having individually addressable pixels to generate and direct light onto an object that has photoreactive or photoresist compounds applied to the exposed surface. Unlike conventional plasma displays that generate visible light, the plasma display of the current invention lacks the phosphor coating conventionally used to convert ultraviolet (UV) light to visible light.

Varian of Palo Alto, Calif., received US Patent No. 6,764, 651, “Fiber-optic dissolution systems, devices, and methods.” The patent covers a dissolution system that provides remote flow cells integrated into a manifold device. The manifold device communicates with liquid input and output lines associated with each flow cell, as well as fiber-optic input and output lines associated with each flow cell. Liquid samples are respectively drawn from dissolution vessels, optically related measurements are taken, and the samples are thereafter returned to their respective vessels. The manifold device can be adapted to receive probe-type instruments that incorporate the fiber-optics, wherein each probe-type instrument is associated with each flow cell.

The Scan

Review of Approval Process

Stat News reports the Department for Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General is to investigate FDA's approval of Biogen's Alzheimer's disease drug.

Not Quite Right

A new analysis has found hundreds of studies with incorrect nucleotide sequences reported in their methods, according to Nature News.

CRISPR and mRNA Together

Time magazine reports on the use of mRNA to deliver CRISPR machinery.

Nature Papers Present Smartphone Platform for DNA Diagnosis of Malaria, Mouse Lines for Epigenomic Editing

In Nature this week: a low-cost tool to detect infectious diseases like malaria, and more.