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NGK Insulators, Eppendorf Array Technologies, Epigenomics, Population Genetics Technologies

NGK Insulators of Nagoya, Japan, has received US Patent No. 7,407,746, “Biochip and method for producing the same.” The patent claims a method for producing a biochip by: a) providing a substantially planar base plate; b) supplying, onto the upper surface of said base plate, a plurality of solution samples, each containing a capture used to specifically react with a specimen in order to obtain information on a structure or a function of the specimen; and c) supplying a solution containing no capture in accordance with an ink-jet system.

Eppendorf Array Technologies of Namur, Belgium, has received US Patent No. 7,407,748, “Method and kit for the determination of cellular activation profiles.” The patent claims a method for obtaining an activation profile of a biological sample that includes: a) disposing onto a solid support in a pre-determined spatial arrangement a subset of capture molecules able to interact with one or more activated transcription factors present in the biology cell sample; b) contacting the biological sample on the solid support under conditions allowing their interaction; c) monitoring signals resulting from their interaction; and d) providing a cellular activation profile from the detected signals.

Epigenomics of Berlin has received US Patent No. 7,407,749, “Method for the detection of cytosine methylations in immobilized DNA samples.” The patent claims a method for the analysis of cytosine methylation patterns in genomic DNA samples. In the first method step, the genomic DNA is isolated from cells or other accompanying materials and bound irreversibly to a surface. Then the DNA bound to the surface is treated, preferably with a bisulfite, in such a way that cytosine is converted into a base that is different in its base pairing behavior in the DNA duplex, while 5-methylcytosine remains unchanged. The reagents that were used are then removed in a washing step. Finally, selected segments of the immobilized DNA are amplified in a polymerase reaction and the amplified products are investigated with respect to their sequence.

Population Genetics Technologies of Cambridge, UK, has received US Patent No. 7,407,757, “Genetic analysis by sequence-specific sorting.” The patent claims methods for sorting polynucleotides from a population based on predetermined sequence characteristics. In one aspect, the described method is carried out by: a) extending primer-annealed polynucleotides having predetermined sequence characteristics to incorporate a predetermined terminator having a capture moiety; b) capturing polynucleotides having extended primers by a capture agent that specifically binds to the capture moiety; and c) melting the captured polynucleotides from the extended primers to form a subpopulation of polynucleotides having the predetermined sequence characteristics. In another aspect, the method is carried out on a population of tagged polynucleotides so that after a subpopulation is selected, the members of the subpopulation may be simultaneously analyzed using the unique tags on the polynucleotides to convey analytical information to a hybridization array for a readout.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.