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Johns Hopkins University, Agilent Technologies, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Packard Bioscience, NGK Insulators


The Johns Hopkins University received US Patent No. 6,753,147, “Digital amplification.” The patent covers a method for the identification of pre-defined mutations expected to be present in a minor fraction of a cell population. The exponential, analog nature of the polymerase chain reaction is transformed into a linear, digital signal suitable for this purpose. Single molecules can be isolated by dilution and individually amplified; each product is then separately analyzed for the presence of pre-defined mutations. The number of wells that can be analyzed and the intrinsic mutation rate of the polymerase used for amplification define the limit of detection. Commercially available 384-well PCR plates and, in the future, 1536-well plates will be available, theoretically allowing sensitivities for mutation detection at approximately the 0.1 percent level. It is also possible that digital amplification can be performed in microarray format, potentially increasing the sensitivity by another order of magnitude. This sensitivity may ultimately be limited by polymerase errors.

Agilent Technologies received US Patent No. 6,753,145, “Buffer composition and method for hybridization of microarrays on adsorbed polymer siliceous surfaces.” The patent covers a buffer composition, and a method and kit for hybridizing microarrays of nucleic acids bound to an adsorbed polymer surface of a siliceous substrate to provide an envelope of conditions to hybridize nucleic acid targets, while preserving the intactness of the adsorbed polymer surface of the array. The buffer composition comprises a non-chelating buffering agent, a pH within a range of pH 6.4 and 7.5, a monovalent cation, and optionally relatively lower concentrations of a chelating agent and an ionic surfactant. The method comprises incubating the targets with the microarray in the buffer composition at a temperature between about 55 and 70 degrees (C).

Bio-Rad Laboratories received US Patent No. 6,754,414, “Imaging of microarrays using fiber optic exciter.” The patent covers a system for imaging microarrays using a fiber technology for illumination and detection. Emission light from each spot is then collected by a collimating lens and converted to a signal that is compiled by conventional software into an image of the entire microarray.

Packard Bioscience, now PerkinElmer, received US Patent No. 6,754,375, “Method and system for interactively developing at least one grid pattern and computer-readable storage medium having a program for executing the method.” The patent covers a method and system for interactively developing at least one grid pattern, as well as an array of such patterns, and a computer-readable storage medium driven by a mouse or trackball on a personal computer or workstation.

NGK Insulators of Nagoya, Japan, received US Patent No. 6,753,144 , “Biochip.” The patent covers a method and technology for more accurate DNA microarrays. The method involves substantially circular spots containing capture solutions arranged on a base plate. The solutions are adapted to specifically react with a specimen and provide information about a structure within the specimen.


The Scan

Genes Linked to White-Tailed Jackrabbits' Winter Coat Color Change

Climate change, the researchers noted in Science, may lead to camouflage mismatch and increase predation of white-tailed jackrabbits.

Adenine Base Editor Targets SCID Mutation in New Study

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, report in Cell that adenine base editing was able to produce functional T lymphocytes in a model of severe combined immune deficiency.

Researchers Find Gene Affecting Alkaline Sensitivity in Plants

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science have found a locus affecting alkaline-salinity sensitivity, which could aid in efforts to improve crop productivity, as they report in Science.

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.