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Patent Watch: Jun 28, 2002

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The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research has received US Patent Number 6,410,243, “Chromosome-wide analysis of protein-DNA interactions” for an invention by John Wyrick, Rick Young, Ren Bing, and Francois Robert. The invention covers a method of identifying a protein-binding region in a cell’s genome. The method involves covalently crosslinking the DNA binding protein to the cell’s genomic DNA, then removing this genomic DNA and hybridizing it with a complementary DNA sequence. The hybridization regions identify the protein binding regions.

Affymetrix has been awarded US Patent Number 6,410,229, “Expression monitoring by hybridization to high density nucleic acid arrays.” The invention covers methods of monitoring the expression levels in genes by hybridizing a nucleic acid sample to a high-density array of oligonucleotides that contains oligonucleotides complementary to sequences of target nucleic acids in the sample. In one embodiment, the array of probes is immobilized on a surface that contains more than 100 different oligonucleotides, each on a predetermined region of the surface, at a density of greater than 60 different oligonucleotides per square centimeter.

Genetic Microsystems, now part of Affymetrix, has received US Patent Number 6,407,858, “Focusing of microscopes and reading of microarrays.” The patent covers microscopes that employ a “hinged, tiltable plates” to allow the user to focus on a biochip. The plate is designed to accommodate heaters and cooled plates as well. One of these embodiments is a computer controlled fluorescence scanning microscope with places to attach or insert biochips or microscope slides. The support plate is flexure-mounted under the patent, which also describes techniques for automatically determining position and focus, as well as an oscillating flying rotatable microobjective scanner and methods for scanning microarrays.

Incyte Pharmaceuticals has been awarded US Patent Number 6,408,308, “System and method for generating, analyzing and storing normalized expression datasets from raw expression datasets derived from microarray includes nucleic acid probe sequences.” The patent covers a microarray processing system for storing microarray data, including the characteristics of each microarray and elements in it. The system can handle different microarray technologies as well as different designs within a single technology platform.

Zyomyx has received US Patent Number 6,406,921, “Protein arrays for high-throughput screening.” The patent covers protein-coated substrates used for screening of biomolecular activities, as well as method using them for high-throughput screening.

The Scan

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

TB Resistance Insights Gleaned From Genome Sequence, Antimicrobial Response Assays

Researchers in PLOS Biology explore M. tuberculosis resistance with a combination of sequencing and assays looking at the minimum inhibitory concentrations of 13 drugs.

Mendelian Disease Genes Prioritized Using Tissue-Specific Expression Clues

Mendelian gene candidates could be flagged for further functional analyses based on tissue-specific transcriptome and proteome profiles, a new Journal of Human Genetics paper says.

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.