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Boston Probes, ViaLogy, International Business Machines

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Boston Probes of Bedford, Mass., has received US Patent No. 6,962,778, "Methods, kits and compositions for suppressing the binding of detectable probes to non-target sequences in hybridization assays." The patent claims methods, kits, and compositions suitable for the improved detection, analysis and quantitation of nucleic acid target sequences using probe-based hybridization assays. More specifically, the patent claims methods, kits, and compositions suitable for suppressing the binding of detectable nucleic acid probes or detectable peptide nucleic acid probes to non-target nucleic acid sequences in an assay for a target nucleic acid sequence. Use in the detection and analysis of nucleic acid point mutations is suggested in the patent.


ViaLogy of Altadena, Calif., has received US Patent No. 6,963,806, "Technique for analyzing arrayed signals using quantum expressor functions." The patent claims a technique for determining events of interest within an output pattern generated from a detected image of an array of detectors. According to the patent's abstract, the output pattern comprises signals associated with noise, and signals associated with the events of interest that have intensities both greater and less than the intensities of signals associated with noise. In addition, quantum resonance interferometry is utilized to amplify signals associated with the events of interest having an intensity lower than the intensity of signals associated with noise, to an intensity greater than the intensity of the signals associated with noise to generate a modified output pattern. Once amplified, the patent claims the technique can determine which signals within the modified output pattern correlate with events of interest, and can enable a determination to be made whether a certain event of interest has occurred.


International Business Machines of Armonk, NY, has received US Patent No. 6,962,822, "Discrete nano-textured structures in biomolecular arrays, and method of use." The patent describes a biomolecular array that includes a substrate across which an array of discrete regions of a porous substance is distributed. The porous substance is designed to bind chemical targets useful in biotechnology applications, such as gene expression, protein, antibody, and antigen experiments, the patent claims. Preferably, the regions are optically isolated from each other and may be shaped to enhance detection of optical radiation emanating from the porous substance. The discrete regions may be configured as microscopic wells within the substrate, or they may reside on top of the substrate in the form of microscopic mesas, 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.