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IP Roundup: Nov 2, 2010


The University of Southern California of Los Angeles has received US Patent No. 7,824,630, "DNA probe synthesis on chip on demand by MEMS ejector array." The patent claims a method of aligning a target chip containing DNA probe sites with an array that contains groups of ejectors. According to the patent, each group of ejectors is coupled to a corresponding reservoir containing a DNA base material, and each ejector includes a self-focusing acoustic transducer that can focus waves using constructive interference to eject DNA base materials onto the DNA probe sites.

Althea Diagnostics has received US Patent No. 7,824,856, "Expression profiling using microarrays." The patent claims methods that use gene-specific as well as universal amplification primers during sample preparation, which permits the simultaneous analysis of multiple samples on the same microarray. Some embodiments incorporate barcode sequences into the amplified products, permitting the use of generic arrays and generic labeled probes.

Affymetrix has received US Patent No. 7,824,863, "Nucleic acid labeling methods." A method is provided for end-labeling RNA, such as total RNA, mRNA, cRNA, or fragmented RNA. In one embodiment, T4 RNA ligase is used to attach a 3'-labeled AMP or CMP donor to an RNA acceptor molecule. In another embodiment, a pyrophosphate molecule 3'-AppN-3'-linker-detectable moiety is used as a donor molecule. A method of detecting the presence of an RNA of interest in a sample is also provided. The method includes providing the sample RNA; treating the sample with a fragmenting reagent to provide RNA fragments; removing phosphate groups from the fragments to provide fragments with free 3' OH groups; ligating the fragment with a labeling reagent; providing a nucleic acid array having probes directed to the RNA of interest; hybridizing the labeled nucleic acid fragments to the nucleic acid array; and determining the extent of hybridization to the probes to determine the presence of the RNA of interest.

Casio of Tokyo has received US Patent No. 7,824,900, "DNA analyzing apparatus, DNA sensor, and analyzing method." The patent describes a DNA-analyzing apparatus that includes a bath containing an electrophoresis medium, where probe electrodes are arranged in the bath. Spots composed of probe DNA fragments having known base sequences are arranged on the respective probe electrodes. Temperature-regulating elements are provided to adjust the temperatures of the spots via the corresponding probe electrode.

Mitsubishi of Tokyo has received US Patent No. 7,824,917, "Method of detecting nucleic acid by using nucleic acid microarray." The patent provides a method of detecting a nucleic acid that is not restricted by the design of the base sequence of a nucleic acid probe. By repeating washing and detection in multiple stages, the inventors argue the method can improve the precision of sequence-specific hybridization stepwise and also can ease restrictions in designing the nucleic acid probes — in particular, restrictions on the Tm value, the temperature at which the nucleic acid double strand is dissociated into single strands, or the sequence length of the nucleic acid probes.

George Mason University has received US Patent No. 7,824,927, "Analyte detection using an active assay." The patent describes an assay where an analyte solution is introduced onto a lacquered membrane. The lacquered membrane may be a membrane treated with a layer of polymers and may be semi-permeable to nonanalytes. Probe molecules may be arrayed and immobilized on the lacquered membrane, and an external force may be applied to the analyte solution to move the analytes towards the lacquered membrane. According to the patent, this movement may cause some or all of the analytes to bind to the lacquered membrane. The direction of the external force may also be reversed to remove unbound or weakly bound analytes. Bound analytes may be detected using known detection types.

Rosetta Genomics of Rehovot, Israel, has received US Patent No. 7,825,229, "Lung cancer-related nucleic acids." The patent claims certain polynucleotides, including microRNAs, miRNA precursors, and associated nucleic acids, that the inventors believe are related to lung cancer. Methods are described that can be used for diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of lung cancer; to identify modulators of the disease-associated polynucleotides; and for linear amplification and labeling of a targeted nucleic acid. The amplified targeted molecules may be used in hybridization techniques like bead- and array-based analyses.

Aperio Technologies of Vista, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,826,649, "Data management in a linear-array-based microscope slide scanner." The patent claims methods for processing, storing, and viewing extremely large imagery data rapidly produced by a linear-array-based microscope slide scanner. According to the patent, a described system receives, processes, and stores imagery data produced by the linear scanner as a series of overlapping image stripes and combines the data into a seamless and contiguous baseline image. The baseline image is logically mapped into regions that are individually addressed to permit viewing and manipulation of the baseline image. The inventors claim that the system enables dynamic imagery data compression while scanning and capturing new image stripes. The system also creates intermediate level images, organizing the baseline image into a variable level pyramid structure referred to as a virtual slide. Finally, the system enables the use of virtual slides in applications such as the analysis of tissue arrays.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.