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Illumina, Affymetrix, Quiatech, University of Southern California

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Illumina has received US Patent Number 6,429,027, "Composite arrays utilizing microspheres." The invention describes microsphere array sensors and methods for decoding them. The composite arrays consist of a substrate with a number of assay locations and microspheres with bioactive agents. The arrays can be decoded by adding binding ligands to identify the location of the bioactive agents.

Affymetrix has been awarded US Patent Number 6,428,752, "Cleaning deposit devices that form microarrays and the like." The patent describes a spotter that deposits minute drops of fluid in a dense array. A cleaning mechanism is shown, in particular a jet arrangement that directs a jet from a pin or tool axis portal to deeper into the confinement chamber, to scrub along a pin or pin-like structure while inducing an air flow from the working zone to prevent back contamination.

Quiatech of Stockholm, Sweden, has received US Patent Number 6,429,309, "Solid phase synthesis." The invention relates to a support system for the solid phase synthesis of oligomers, such as oligonucleotides, where the starting compound is bound to the support via a disiloxyl linkage. This linkage provides high nucleoside loadings to the support and allows convenient and non-laborious oligomer synthesis, according to the patent.

The University of Southern California, Los Angeles, has received US Patent Number 6,428,963, "Isolation of RNA from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue specimens." The patent covers methods for rapid isolation of RNA from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples. RNA purified in this manner can be used to monitor gene expression levels. The method is applicable to a wide range of tissue and tumor types and target genes.

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