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Applera and Sequenom

Applera has received US Patent No. 7,233,393, “Signal noise reduction for imaging in biological analysis.” The patent claims a system for detecting identifiable signals associated with biological samples. The system includes: a) a segmented detector with a plurality of pixels that are capable of forming an optical image of fluorescent light emitted from the biological samples; b) a readout component that is capable of reading an output signal from each pixel; c) a controller that is capable of correcting signal noise from the output signal; and d) a processor capable of determining the dark current contribution and the readout offset contribution. According to the patent, the system can be used in biological analysis chosen from nucleotide sequencing, microarray processing, sequence detection, and high-throughput screening.

Sequenom has received US Patent No. 7,232,688, “Systems and methods for preparing and analyzing low volume analyte array elements.” The patent claims methods for dispensing tools that can be employed to generate multi-element arrays of sample material on a substrate surface. The resulting substrates are also claimed. The substrate surfaces can be flat or geometrically altered to include wells of receiving material. The tool can dispense a spot of fluid to a substrate surface by spraying the fluid from the pin, contacting the substrate surface, or forming a drop that touches against the substrate surface, according to the patent. The tool can form an array of sample material by dispensing sample material in a series of steps, while moving the pin to different locations above the substrate surface to form the sample array. The prepared sample arrays are passed to a plate assembly that disposes the sample arrays for analysis by mass spectrometry. To this end, a mass spectrometer is provided that generates a set of spectra signals that are indicative of the composition of the sample material under analysis, the patent states.

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.