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IP Roundup: Sep 15, 2009


The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the University of Chicago have received US Patent No. 7,588,906, "Hydrogels for biomolecule analysis and corresponding method to analyze biomolecules." The patent claims polyacrylamide-based methods of fabricating surface-bound peptide and protein arrays, the arrays themselves, and a method of using the arrays to detect biomolecules and to measure their concentration, binding affinity, and kinetics. According to the patent, peptides, proteins, fusion proteins, protein complexes, nucleic acids, and the like are labeled with an acrylic moiety and attached to acrylic-functionalized glass surfaces through a copolymerization with acrylic monomer. The claimed surface attachment strategy is applicable to the proteomics field and addresses denaturation and dehydration problems associated with protein microarray development, the inventors state in the patent.

GenVault of Carlsbad, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,589,184, "Stable protein storage and stable nucleic acid storage in recoverable form." The patent provides compositions and methods for the storage of biomolecules via absorption to a substrate. According to the patent, the absorbed biomolecules can be eluted or recovered from the substrate at a future time, and optionally be subjected to a subsequent analysis or application.

Illumina has received US Patent No. 7,589,315, "Confocal imaging methods and apparatus." The patent claims an imaging apparatus and methods for obtaining a high-resolution image of a sample at rapid scan rates. It describes a rectangular detector array that can be used along with imaging optics to direct a rectangular image of a portion of a sample to the rectangular detector array. A scanning device can then be configured to scan the sample in a scan-axis dimension.

Ocimum Biosolutions of Indianapolis has received US Patent No. 7,590,493, "Methods for determining hepatotoxins." The patent is based on the elucidation of the global changes in gene expression in liver tissues or cells exposed to known toxins, in particular hepatotoxins, as compared to unexposed tissues or cells, as well as the identification of individual genes that are differentially expressed in liver tissues or cells upon toxin exposure. It describes methods of predicting at least one toxic effect of a compound, predicting the progression of a toxic effect of a compound, and predicting the hepatoxicity of a compound. It also includes methods of identifying agents that modulate the onset or progression of a toxic response, predicting the cellular pathways that a compound modulates in a cell, and identifying agents that modulate protein activities.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.