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IP Roundup: Apr 7, 2009

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Labmaster of Turku, Finland, has received US Patent No. 7,513,983, "Insulator electrode devices." The patent claims methods and insulator electrode devices for performing electrochemical reactions. The described devices are said to consist of high-specific surface area electrodes based on a channeled conducting base material that has been coated with an organic or inorganic insulating film or multiple layers of such films. Chemical reactions are conducted by exciting one or several label compounds into an excited state which is spontaneously de-excited by emission of ultraviolet, visible or infrared light, in aqueous solution. This technology provides the basis for reproducible analytical applications in bioaffinity assays such as immunoassays and DNA-probing assays, the patent states.


Cytonome of Boston has received US Patent No. 7,514,000, "Implementation of microfluidic components, including molecular fractionation devices, in a microfluidic system." The patent claims a method for protein-expression profiling that includes the steps of: a) coupling molecular fractionation devices to a substrate containing microchannels; b) coupling the molecular fractionation devices to each other; c) fractionating a protein into fractions using the molecular fractionation devices; and d) eluting the fractions from the molecular fractionation devices by passing a release solution into the coupled microchannels in the substrate as bands of different affinities.


Quest Diagnostics has received US Patent No. 7,514,213, "Compositions and methods for determining genotypes." The patent claims methods for determining the genotype of a selected gene present in at least two alleles in a sample. The methods involve amplifying DNA from the sample with a first pair of flanking primers that hybridize to nucleic acid sequences flanking a variant-specific gene sequence, the presence of which indicates the presence of a first gene variant, and the absence of which indicates the presence of a second gene variant. The DNA is also amplified with a third primer that specifically binds to the variant-specific sequence and together with one of the flanking primers forms a second pair of primers. Detection of one or more nucleic acid products of the amplification reaction is indicative of the genotype present in the sample.


Stanford University and National Tsing Hua University of Taiwan have received US Patent No. 7,515,787, "Imaging device for optically extracting features of an object." The patent claims a method and device for optically extracting discrete features of an object. With this method and device, small regions of interest or features within a relatively large object are optically extracted and collated into a single, condensed image. The condensed image contains all of the features in the original object, but not the parts of the object that are between the features. Therefore, the optically extracted features can be viewed at high resolution, but in a limited field of view, the patent states. Examples of objects that may be optically extracted according to the invention include spots of biomaterial on a biochip or material in wells of a microtiter plate.

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.