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IP Roundup: Sep 20, 2011


Aushon Biosystems of Billerica, Mass., has received US Patent No. 8,020,571, "Continual flow pin washer." The wash station includes a lower chamber and an upper drain basin connected by wash tubes. Cleaning fluid is provided to the lower chamber and passes through the cleaning tubes into the upper drain basin. The cleaning tubes are adapted to clean a single deposition pin with a single tube per wash cycle.

The California Institute of Technology of Pasadena and the University of California of Oakland have received US Patent No. 8,021,480, "Microfluidic free interface diffusion techniques." According to the patent, static fluids are positioned on either side of a closed valve structure in a microfluidic channel having a width that is tightly constrained in at least one dimension. The valve is then opened, and no-slip layers at the sides of the microfluidic channel suppress convective mixing between the two fluids along the resulting interface. Applications for microfluidic free interfaces include protein crystallization studies, protein solubility studies, determination of properties of fluidics systems, as well as diffusive immunoassays, substrate turnover assays, and competitive binding assays, according to the inventors.

Agilent Technologies of Santa Clara, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,021,844, "Enzymatic labeling of RNA." Methods for labeling RNA in a sample are claimed. An RNA sample is first heated to at least about 70 degrees Celsius in a solution containing at least 35 percent dimethyl sulfoxide and then cooled to below 10 degrees Celsius. The RNA sample is then contacted with an enzyme having an RNA ligation activity in the presence of a labeled substrate. This is done under conditions sufficient to result in coupling of the labeled substrate to the RNA in the RNA sample to provide labeled RNA, the conditions including a DMSO concentration in the range from about 20 percent to about 30 percent. The labeled substrate includes a nucleotide moiety having a terminal 3'-phosphate group and an observable label moiety attached to the nucleotide moiety via a linking group bound to the terminal 3'-phosphate group. In particular embodiments, the RNA sample is a mixed RNA sample, and the method results in labeled RNA that has reduced sequence bias.

Quest Diagnostics of Wilmington, Del., has received US Patent No. 8,021,888, "Rapid comparative genomic hybridization using acoustic surface waves." The described hybridization assays may be used for detecting and mapping chromosomal or genetic abnormalities associated with various diseases or associated with predisposition to various diseases. In a particular aspect, the method relates to the use of rapid nucleic acid hybridization methods, such as comparative genomic hybridization, for comparing nucleic acid segments of one genome to corresponding nucleic acid segments in another genome.

Canon of Tokyo has received US Patent No. 8,023,109, "Recognition chip for target substance, and detection method and device for the same." The detection device includes a substrate that contains objects whose properties change following contact with a target substance. A means for bringing the target substance into contact with the objects and means for detecting a change in properties of the objects are also components of the device. The latter is based on light output when the objects are irradiated with light, where the objects are located in the direction in which the light for irradiation travels. The means for detecting the change in the properties is based on the summation of light output from the objects upon irradiation with light.

Stanford University of Palo Alto, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,023,113, "Biological analysis arrangement and approach therefor." The patent claims an integrated microcircuit assaying arrangement. It includes a circuit-supporting substrate; a light detection circuit on the substrate that is arranged to detect an optical characteristic of a biological sample and generate a signal as a function of the detected optical characteristic; and a processing circuit, which is communicatively coupled to the light detection circuit to receive the signal. The processing circuit also includes an instruction-responsive processor on the substrate that is adapted to process the signal and to provide an assay output corresponding to the detected optical characteristic.

Illumina of San Diego has received US Patent No. 8,023,162, "Hexagonal site line scanning method and system." The scanning technique includes illuminating or irradiating sites in lines of the array, and collecting returned radiation from the sites for imaging. According to the patent, the sites are sequentially scanned by means of confocally directed radiation lines from source optics, and the orientation of the radiation lines with respect to the lines of sites in the array is such that the distance between nearest edges of sites in adjacent lines is greater than lines through those edges in a direction parallel to the radiation lines used for scanning. The company claims that the resulting system experiences less crosstalk and a greater ability to distinguish between neighboring sites in resulting images.

Academia Sinica of Taipei, Taiwan, has received US Patent No. 8,024,277, "Reconstruction of gene networks and calculating joint probability density using time-series microarray, and a downhill simplex method." Gene regulation networks can be reconstructed using time-series microarray data using the Bayesian network method. The power-law function is used to calculate the joint probabilities among genes across time points. Additionally, the downhill simplex algorithm is used to find global maxima of interrelational likelihood. Arcs with higher frequencies are selected to establish the gene regulation network. Prior knowledge may be included in candidate gene networks to accelerate the search for the best networks, according to the patent.

The Scan

Missed Early Cases

A retrospective analysis of blood samples suggests early SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been missed in the US, the New York Times reports.

Limited Journal Editor Diversity

A survey finds low diversity among scientific and medical journal editors, according to The Scientist.

How Much of a Threat?

Science writes that need for a provision aimed at shoring up genomic data security within a new US bill is being questioned.

PNAS Papers on Historic Helicobacter Spread, Brain Development, C. difficile RNAs

In PNAS this week: Helicobacter genetic diversity gives insight into human migrations, gene expression patterns of brain development, and more.