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PATENT WATCH: Oct 5, 2001


Xtrana, of Denver, has received US Patent Number 6,291,166, “Nucleic acid archiving.” The patent covers an invention for binding a nucleic acid to a solid substrate that is hydrophobic and electropositive. The binding process would allow the capture of nucleic acids from specimens that involve low concentrations of the nucleic acid in a high volume of sample, and enable for washes, buffer changes, and volume reductions; as well as the addition of an enzyme. The invention is designed for both research and clinical applications.


Applera, formerly PE Corporation, of Foster City, Calif., has received US Patent Number 6,296,702, “Apparatus and method for spotting a substrate.” This invention provides a method for spotting a small volume of liquid onto a substrate such as a microarray using a tube that is specially adapted for the liquid. The tube, which has a diameter less than 1 millimeter at its lower end, includes a long fiber within it that, when raised and lowered, deposits the liquid. The device can be adapted for high-density microarrays. The invention also includes a control unit that is connected to the positioning device for the tube. One version of the invention includes multiple tubes for deposition of multiple liquids simultaneously on different regions of the substrate.


Agilent Technologies has been awarded US Patent Number 6,296,452, “Microfluidic pumping.” The invention covers a method for pumping liquid through a microfluidic device. This apparatus includes a pulse jet that is activated by electrical pulses. The first pulse of the pulse jet causes pressure to be reduced at the opening to a capillary or chamber, loading the sample. A second pulse jet oriented in the opposite direction discharges the fluid from the chamber or capillary. The first opening and the pulse jet can be isolated from one another through a fluid or air barrier.

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