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IP Roundup: Mar 1, 2011


The University of California of Oakland has received US Patent No. 7,897,684, "Conjugated polymers suitable for strand-specific polynucleotide detection in homogeneous and solid state assays." The patent describes a strand-specific polynucleotide sensing method performed on an array based on surface-bound peptide nucleic acids and water-soluble cationic conjugated polymers. The main transduction mechanism in the method operates by taking advantage of the net increase in negative charge at the PNA surface, which occurs upon strand-specific DNA hybridization. Electrostatic forces cause the oppositely charged CCP to bind selectively to the complementary surfaces. The inventors claim the approach circumvents the current need to label the probe or target strands.

The University of California has also received US Patent No. 7,898,005, "Inorganic nanotubes and electro-fluidic devices fabricated therefrom." The patent describes nanofluidic devices that incorporate inorganic nanotubes fluidly coupled to channels or nanopores for supplying a fluid containing chemical or bio-chemical species. In one aspect, two channels are interconnected with a nanotube. Electrodes on opposing sides of the nanotube establish electrical contact with the fluid. A bias current is then passed between the electrodes through the fluid, and current changes are detected to ascertain the passage of select molecules, such as DNA, through the nanotube. In another aspect, a gate electrode is located next to the nanotube between the two electrodes forming a nanofluidic transistor. The voltage applied to the gate controls the passage of ionic species through the nanotube selected as either or both ionic polarities. In either of these aspects, the nanotube can be modified, or functionalized, to control the selectivity of detection or passage, the patent claims.

Stanford University of Palo Alto, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,897,747, "Method to produce single stranded DNA of defined length and sequence and DNA probes produced thereby." The patent claims a method for producing a single stranded DNA molecule of a defined length and sequence. According to the patent, the method enables the preparation of probes of greater length than can be chemically synthesized. It starts with a double-stranded molecule, such as genomic, double-stranded DNA from any organism. A fragment of the starting molecule is then amplified by specific primers engineered to introduce cleavage sites on either side of the desired sequence. Cleavage steps on the amplified, engineered fragment are combined with a phosphate removal step, creating a construct that can be digested with an exonuclease without damage to the desired ssDNA. Probes, which hybridize with large gaps between the ends of the probes, are also claimed.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation of Madison has received US Patent No. 7,897,749, "Dairy cattle breeding for improved milk production traits in cattle." The patent claims a panel of SNPs that indicate a desirable milk production trait in dairy cattle. An array including the SNP panel, a method for detecting the SNPs, a method for progeny testing of cattle, and a method for selectively breeding cattle are also claimed.

Mesa Imaging of Zurich, Switzerland, has received US Patent No. 7,897,928, "Solid-state photodetector pixel and photodetecting method." According to the patent, a pixel is formed in a semiconductor substrate with a plane surface for use in a photodetector. It comprises an active region for converting incident light into charge carriers, photogates for generating a lateral electric potential across the active region, and an integration gate for storing charge carriers generated in the active region and a dump site. The pixel further comprises separation-enhancing means for additionally enhancing charge separation in the active region and charge transport from the active region to the integration gate. According to the patent, the approach can be applied in range detection or in biochemical sensing.

Illumina of San Diego has received US Patent No. 7,898,735, "Methods and systems for writing an optical code within or on a fiber substrate." The patent described a system for writing an optical code within or on a fiber substrate. The system includes a holding device that has supports spaced apart from each other. The fiber substrate is wound about the supports such that the fiber substrate forms at least one flat section extending between adjacent supports. According to the patent, the system also includes at least one light source that is configured to write an optical code within or on the flat section of the fiber substrate.

Illumina has also received US Patent No. 7,899,626, "System and method of measuring methylation of nucleic acids." A method of measuring the methylation level of DNA using an array is provided. The method includes the steps of providing data representing the standard deviation of methylation measurements of DNA, determining the methylation level of at least one locus in a sample DNA and comparing the methylation level of the data to determine the standard deviation of the measurement. Also provided is a DNA methylation level detection system, including a scanner for reading methylation levels for loci in a sample DNA and a first module configured to compare the methylation levels against data representing the standard deviation of methylation measurements of DNA.

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.