Applera of Foster City, Calif., has received US Patent No. 6,916,447, "Apparatus and method for transferring small volumes of substances." The patent describes a method and apparatus for dispensing small volumes of selected substances, such as biological reagents or samples, onto substrates. According to one embodiment, spaced, tandemly arranged substrates are advanced by way of a conveyor, along a transport pathway extending over a reagent-supply location, such as a reservoir supported at a fixed position in a base. From a position over the reagent-supply location and the pathway, a reagent-transfer instrument, or tip, is extended along an axis through an intervening region, to contact reagent held at the reagent-supply location. The reagent-transfer instrument is then withdrawn, along with a portion of reagent, through the intervening region to a position above the transport pathway. Once the conveyor has advanced a selected substrate, upstream of the intervening region, to a position aligned with the axis of the reagent-transfer instrument, a selected amount of reagent is transferred from the instrument onto a selected site of the substrate. The apparatus and method are "readily adaptable" for the production of microarrays having a great number of closely spaced spots, according to the patent abstract.
The Penn State Research Foundation of University Park, Penn., has received US Patent No. 6,916,54, "Modified substrates for the attachment of biomolecules." The patent describes a substrate for the attachment of biomolecules that is coated with a multiamino organosilane. Optional surface modifications include coating the substrate with SiO2 or leaching with acid to form a SiO2-rich layer. DNA, nucleic acids, or any biomolecules can be attached to the coated substrates. Although a variety of substrates are contemplated, the preferred substrate is a low self-fluorescent glass, the abstract states.
Eastman Kodak of Rochester, NY, has received US Patent No. 6,916,620, "Random array of micro-spheres for the analysis of nucleic acid using enzyme digestion." The patent describes a microarray with a substrate coated with a composition including a population of nucleic acid probe-modified microspheres immobilized in a coating that contains a gelling agent or a precursor to a gelling agent. A first portion of the microspheres is submerged in the gelatin coating and a second portion is exposed above the gelatin coating and is substantially free of gelatin, and at least one sub-population of the population micro-spheres contains an optical barcode generated from at least one colorant associated with the microspheres and includes a nucleic acid probe sequence. The array is contacted with a target nucleic acid sequence; and the color barcode of the subpopulation of microspheres is detected due to the interaction of the probe nucleic acid sequence and the fluorescently/chemiluminescently labeled nucleic acid sample target nucleic acid sequence.
Spectral Genomics of Houston has received US Patent No. 6,916,621, "Methods for array-based comparative binding assays." The patent describes computer systems, computer program products, and methods for in silico array-based methods for determining the relative amount of biological molecules in two or more samples. The invention also provides arrays comprising immobilized calibration molecules, such as nucleic acids, for normalizing the results of array-based binding assays.