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Patent Watch: Mar 1, 2002


BioDiscovery of Marina del Ray, Calif., has been awarded US Patent Number 6,349,144, “Automated DNA Array Segmentation and Analysis.” The patent covers image processing methods for microarray image analysis — a key feature of the company’s ImaGene software.

“This patent is based on pioneering work in the application of novel image processing methods for improving and solving the unique issues present in microarray images,” Soheil Shams, CEO of BioDiscovery, stated.


Illumina of San Diego has non-exclusively licensed five patents from Amersham Biosciences, all of which cover confocal scanning methods and designs. Confocal scanning is a high-resolution, high-sensitivity method that can be applied to imaging of microarrays. Illumina plans to use confocal scanning in its BeadArray product line, in which beads are imaged at high densities, with five-micron core-to-core widths between them.


Rosetta Inpharmatics, a Kirkland, Wash., subsidiary of Merck, has received US Patent Number 6,351,712, “Statistical combining of cell expression profiles.” The patent essentially describes dye swapping, a method for removing bias caused by fluorophores in which the two fluorophores used in microarray experiment pairs are reversed. It further details a method for calculating the errors associated with each measurement; provides a means for coupling this error with rank-based methods to derive the probability that a cellular constituent is up- ¯or down-regulated relative to a control; and outlines a method for determining confidence in the weighted average of expression level across repeated experiments.


Genemaster Lifescience Co. of Chungho, Taiwan, has received US Patent Number 6,350,620, “Method for producing micro-carrier and test method by using said micro-carrier.” This patent covers a method for imprinting a barcode on a substrate coated with photoresist to electroform a nickel plate, then stamping this bar code on a bead squashed between two nickel plates. This “microcake” is then added to a biomolecule. Unknown biomolecules can be identified by mixing the microcarriers with unknown biomolecules and imaging the mixtures.

The Scan

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.

Rett Syndrome Mouse Model Study Points to RNA Editing Possibilities

Investigators targeted MECP2 in mutant mouse models of Rett syndrome, showing in PNAS that they could restore its expression and dial down symptoms.

Investigators Find Shared, Distinct Genetic Contributors to Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma

An association study in JAMA Network Open uncovers risk variants within and beyond the human leukocyte antigen locus.

Transcriptomic, Epigenetic Study Appears to Explain Anti-Viral Effects of TB Vaccine

Researchers report in Science Advances on an interferon signature and long-term shifts in monocyte cell DNA methylation in Bacille Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated infant samples.