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Nanogen, Motorola, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Nanogen received US Patent No. 6,518,022, “Method for enhancing the hybridization efficiency of target nucleic acids using a self-addressable, self-assembling microelectronic device.” The patent covers a self-addressable, self-assembling microelectronic device designed and fabricated to control multi-step and multiplex molecular biological reactions, including nucleic acid hybridizations, antibody/antigen reactions, and biopolymer synthesis. The device can be fabricated using both microlithographic and micro-machining techniques. The device can electronically control the transport and attachment of specific binding entities, such as nucleic acids and polypeptides, to specific locations. The device can subsequently control the transport and reaction of analytes or reactants at the addressed specific locations. The device is able to concentrate analytes and reactants, remove non-specifically bound molecules, provide stringency control for DNA hybridization reactions, and improve the detection of analytes. The device can be electronically replicated.

Motorola received US Patent No. 6,518,024, “Electrochemical detection of single base extension.” The patent covers a system and methods for detecting single base extension to an oligonucleotide array using electrochemical labels. This is achieved by sequence-specific incorporation of chain-terminating nucleotide species chemically labeled with an electrochemical species. The single base extension is performed using hybridization to an oligonucleotide array, preferably an addressable array. Single base extension is detected using extension products labeled with electrochemical reporter groups, preferably containing a transition metal ion such as ruthenium, cobalt, iron, or osmium.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology received US Patent No. 6,517,995, “Fabrication of finely featured devices by liquid embossing.” The patent covers a system for patterning electrical, biological, chemical, and mechanical materials deposited on a substrate. The deposited material, in liquid form, is patterned by embossing at low pressure using an elastomeric stamp with a raised pattern and then cured to form a layer. The system can be used to manufacture biochips.

The Scan

Panel Votes for COVID-19 Pill

A US Food and Drug Administration panel has voted to support the emergency use authorization of an antiviral pill for COVID-19 from Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, CNN says.

But Not Harm

New Scientist reports that UK bioethicists say that though gene editing may improve food production, it should not harm livestock welfare.

Effectiveness Drop Anticipated

Moderna's Stéphane Bancel predicts that that current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines may be less effective against the Omicron variant, the Financial Times reports.

Cell Studies of Human Chromatin Accessibility, SARS-CoV-2 Variants, Cell Signaling Networks

In Cell this week: chromatin accessibility maps of adult human tissues, modeling to track SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, and more.