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IP Roundup: Mar 15, 2011


Auburn University of Auburn, Ala., has received US Patent No. 7,906,074, "Microfluidic array system for biological, chemical, and biochemical assessments." The patent includes a microfluidic chip for reaction assays, where the chip contains a control layer and a fluidic layer. According to the patent, the control layer is pressurized through pneumatic or hydraulic means in order to control the flow of the reagents in the fluidic layer. A system for operating and analyzing the microfluidic array including a pressure source, a fluidic source, a biochip reader, and a processor configured to control the same, are also provided.

Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, Md., has received US Patent No. 7,906,288, " Compare-MS: method rapid, sensitive and accurate detection of DNA methylation." The patent claims a method for enriching for methylated DNA by digesting a sample containing methylated DNA with a methylation-sensitive restriction endonuclease, such as HpaII. The method is suited for enriching methylated DNA that contains methylated CpG islands, according to the patent. The sample can further be digested with a second restriction endonuclease such as AluI to reduce the size of the DNA fragments or reduce repetitive DNA. The methylated DNA fragments that are generated are then captured. Typically, the capture step involves contacting the methylated DNA restriction fragments with a reagent that binds methylated DNA and separating bound DNA from unbound DNA. According to the patent, the capture reagent can be attached to a solid support such as a bead, a resin, a microtiter plate, a chip, or a test tube.

Stanford University of Palo Alto, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,906,345, "Magnetic nanoparticles, magnetic detector arrays, and methods for their use in detecting biological molecules." Magnetic nanoparticles can be attached to nucleic acid molecules, which are then captured by a complementary sequence attached to a detector, such as a spin valve detector or a magnetic tunnel junction detector. According to the patent, the detection of the bound magnetic nanoparticle can be achieved with high specificity and sensitivity.

The Scan

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The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

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In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.