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Illumina, Los Alamos National Security, Stanford University, University of Rochester, Fluidigm, Health Discovery

Illumina has received US Patent No. 7,441,703, “Optical reader for diffraction grating-based encoded optical identification elements.” The patent claims an optical reader that includes: a) a reader capable of receiving an encoded substrate with one diffraction grating disposed on it; b) a grating that provides an output optical signal indicative of a code when illuminated by an incident input light signal propagating in free space; c) a source light providing input light signal incident at a location where substrates are located when loaded, where the source light includes an optical code signal and an optical fluorescence excitation signal; and d) a reader which reads the output optical signal and provides a code signal indicative of the code.

Los Alamos National Security of Los Alamos, NM, has received US Patent No. 7,442,403, “Membrane architectures for ion-channel switch-based electrochemical biosensors.” The patent describes a process of forming a bilayer lipid membrane structure by: a) depositing an organic layer having a defined surface area onto an electrically conductive substrate; b) removing portions of the organic layer; and c) depositing a bilayer lipid membrane over the defined voids and defined islands of organic layer whereby aqueous reservoirs are formed between the electrically conductive substrate and the bilayer lipid membrane.

Stanford University of Palo Alto, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,442,499, “Substrates comprising polynucleotide microarrays.” The patent claims a method of determining the relative amounts of individual polynucleotides in a complex mixture of different-sequence polynucleotides. The polynucleotides, after fluorescent labeling, are contacted under hybridization conditions with an array of different DNA sequences disposed at discrete locations on a non-porous surface, at an array density of at least about 100 sequences per centimeter, where the different DNA sequences in the array are effective to hybridize to individual polynucleotides in the mixture. The level of fluorescence associated with each array sequence provides a measure of its relative amount in the mixture.

The University of Rochester of Rochester, NY, has received US Patent No. 7,442,510, “Method of identifying hairpin DNA probes by partial fold analysis.” The patent claims an isolated nucleic acid probe that includes: a) a hairpin DNA molecule that hybridizes over its full length to a target nucleic acid that has a naturally occurring sequence; b) a label tethered to one terminus of the hairpin DNA molecule; and c) a quenching agent tethered to the other terminus of the hairpin DNA molecule. The patent also describes a method of detecting a target nucleic acid molecule in a sample by: a) providing a sample that may contain a target nucleic acid molecule having a target nucleic acid sequence; b) introducing the isolated nucleic acid probe into the sample; and c) determining whether the label can be detected within the sample, where detection of the label indicates the presence of the target nucleic acid molecule in the sample.

Fluidigm of South San Francisco, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,442,556, “Microfluidic-based electrospray source for analytical devices with a rotary fluid flow channel for sample preparation.” The patent claims a microfluidic device that includes a first elastic layer, a fluid flow channel within the elastic layer; and a means for providing a fluid sample from the fluid flow channel to an analytical device.

Health Discovery of Savannah, GA, has received US Patent No. 7,444,308, “Data mining platform for bioinformatics and other knowledge discovery.” The claimed data mining platform includes system modules. Each module has an input data component, a data analysis engine for processing the input data, an output data component for outputting the results of the data analysis, and a web server to access and monitor the other modules within the unit and to provide communication to other units. Each module processes a different type of data, for example, a first module processes microarray gene expression data, while a second module processes biomedical literature on the Internet for information supporting relationships between genes and diseases and gene functionality.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.