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Applera, GE Healthcare, Agilent Technologies, Affymetrix

Applera has received US Patent No. 7,087,387, “Nucleic acid archiving.” The patent claims a kit comprising a substrate coated with a solid phase matrix for nucleic acid manipulation. The manipulations may include nucleic acid capture from high volume and/or low concentration specimens, buffer changes, washes, and volume reductions, and enable the interface of solid phase bound nucleic acid with enzyme, hybridization or amplification strategies. The tightly bound nucleic acid may be used in repeated analyses to confirm results or test additional genes in both research and commercial applications. A method for virus extraction, purification, and solid phase amplification from large volume plasma specimens is also claimed.

GE Healthcare has received US Patent No. 7,089,120, “Process for evaluating chemical and biological assays.” The patent claims an analytical process for discriminating data acquired from samples with overlapping distributions, and for improving and assessing the statistical validity of hybridization signal in arrays of assays. The process includes the method of convolving data into two or more discrete probability density functions. The system uses the probability density functions to assign hybridization signals to one of the modeled distributions. Subsequent processes then assess variability inherent to the arrays, and use this variation to establish reliability scores and confidence limits for complete hybridization arrays, as well as for discrete hybridization assays within arrays.

Agilent Technologies has received US Patent No. 7,089,123, “Array scanner control system.” The patent claims an optical scanning system adapted to physically adjust scanner settings in response to control feature readings. Additionally, the scanner and methodology can be used in reading of biopolymer arrays. It may also be possible to use the system as a tool to aid in manufacture of arrays by providing feedback to a manufacturer regarding the signal produce for a given batch of samples tested, according to the patent’s abstract.

Affymetrix has received US Patent No. 7,089,121, “Methods for monitoring the expression of alternatively spliced genes.” The patent claims methods, probe compositions, and computer software for analyzing sequence variations such as products of alternative splicing. Methods, compositions and computer software for making and using exon chips are also claimed. The exon chips can be used for analyzing gene regulation by alternative splicing, alternative promoters, RNA editing, as well as for quantifying specific sequences, the patent claims.

The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.