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Applera, MicroChips, Affymetrix, The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University


Applera of Foster City, Calif., has received US Patent No. 6,849,127, “Apparatus and method for spotting a substrate.” The patent covers a method and apparatus for dispensing a small volume of a selected liquid, such as a biological sample or reagent, onto a substrate. The device includes a tube adapted to contain the liquid. An elongated fiber is disposed within the tube for axial movement therein between raised and lowered positions. Upon shifting or oscillating the fiber between its raised and lowered positions, a liquid spot can be formed at a selected position on the substrate. The device is readily adaptable for the production of microarrays having a great number of individual spots.

MicroChips of Bedford, Mass., has received US Patent No. 6,849,463, “Microfabricated devices for the storage and selective exposure of chemicals and devices.” The patent covers microchip devices and methods of use for the controlled exposure of a secondary device. In one embodiment, the microchip device includes a substrate; a plurality of reservoirs in the substrate; a secondary device in one or more of the reservoirs; at least one barrier layer covering each of the reservoirs to isolate the secondary device from an environmental component outside the reservoirs, wherein the barrier layer is impermeable to the environmental component; and a microprocessor-controlled actuation means for rendering the barrier layer porous or permeable to the environmental component to expose the secondary device to said environmental component. The secondary device can comprise a sensor or sensing component. In other embodiments, microchip devices are provided for the controlled exposure of a reacting component, such as an enzyme. In still other embodiments, sensors are provided on the device outside of the reservoirs.

Affymetrix of Santa Clara, Calif., has received US Patent No. 6,850,846, “Computer software for genotyping analysis using pattern recognition.” Methods, systems, and computer software products are provided for determining the genotype of a sample using a plurality of probes. In one embodiment, a tentative genotype call is made based upon the relative allele signals. Pattern recognition is then used to validate the tentative call.

Affymetrix also received US Patent No. 6,849,462, “Combinatorial strategies for polymer synthesis.” The patent covers a method for producing arrays by depositing a resist on a substrate; selectively removing a portion of the resist to expose localized areas; and dispensing a monomer to occupy a localized area of the surface of the support, thereby allowing the monomer to bind directly or indirectly to the support; and repeating the steps to produce an array of at least 10 different polymers.

The Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, of Stanford, Calif., has received US Patent No. 6,849,558, “Replication and transfer of microstructures and nanostructures.” The patent covers a method for the duplication of microscopic patterns from a master to a substrate, in which a replica of a topographic structure on a master is formed and transferred when needed onto a receiving substrate using one of a variety of printing or imprint techniques. Additional processing steps can be carried out using the replica before transfer, including the formation of nanostructures, microdevices, or portions thereof. These structures are then transferred onto the substrate, and remain on the substrate when the replica is dissolved. This technique can be applied as a complementary process or a replacement for lithographic processing steps in fabricating integrated circuits.

The Scan

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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

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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.