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IP Roundup: U of Rochester, Cargill, Branhaven, Nanohmics, Panagene

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The University of Rochester of Rochester, NY, has received US Patent No. 8,450,056, "Arrayed imaging reflectometry (AIR) sensor chip comprising virus-like particles suitable for the detection of antiviral immune responses." The chip consists of a multilayer substrate that hosts virus-like particles or viral-capsid fragments from different viral strains or isolates that are covalently attached at different locations. These particles or fragments contain conformational epitopes that are capable of binding to antiviral antibodies. Upon illumination, antigen-antibody binding produces a detectable change in reflectance, the inventors claim.


Cargill of Wayzata, Minn., and Branhaven of Canton, Ohio, have received US Patent No. 8,450,064, "Methods and systems for inferring bovine traits." The patent describes the use of SNP genotyping to assess bovine subjects for various desirable traits, and to be used in selecting, breeding, and cloning a bovine subject, as well as tracking meat from that subject, all in order to "maximize their individual potential performance and edible meat value." The patent provides a list of SNPs associated with different traits, as well as methods for genotyping them, including the use of microarray and other multiplex platforms.


Nanohmics of Austin, Tex., has received US Patent No. 8,450,131, "Imprinted semiconductor multiplex detection array." The described sensor includes a set of semiconducting nanotraces, each with a width of less than 100 nanometers. According to the patent, such arrays may be used for multiplex detection of chemical and biomolecular species, or may be combined with parallel synthesis of anchor probe libraries to provide a multiplex diagnostic device. Suggested applications include gas phase sensing, chemical sensing, and solution-phase biomolecular sensing.


Panagene of Daejeon, Korea, has received US Patent No. 8,450,469, "Synthesis of peptide nucleic acids conjugated with amino acids and their application." The patent relates to peptide nucleic acid oligomers are conjugated with linear-type amino acids containing alkyleneglycols. A linear amino acid spacer is also claimed that can be used for detecting a target gene by relying on PNA oligomers that are fixed on a surface of a functionalized solid support. According to the patent, the spacer contains alkyleneglycols and maintains enough space between the solid support and the PNA oligomers to prevent the interference of the interaction between the PNA oligomer and a target gene.

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.