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PATENT WATCH: Jul 13, 2001


Yale University was awarded US Patent Number 6,255,082 for a technique of amplifying and cloning long nucleic acid sequences. The patent, "Artificial long terminal repeat vectors," covers a method in which an artificial long terminal repeat (ALTR) sequence is affixed to the end of a nucleic acid molecule and primed at multiple locations, then initiates replication at each primer through strand displacement.

The method allows the production of hundreds of thousands of copies of the target sequence in a few rounds of replication, and can be used for amplification of sequences 40kb to 80kb or longer, according to the patent.

"The configuration of repeats in the ALTR is designed to optimize the function of a set of two primers in an in vitro DNA amplification system," said Paul Lizardi, the Yale Medical School pathology professor who invented this technology. "ALTRs may be useful for in vitro cloning of DNA that is otherwise unstable in bacteria (such as the unclonable'''' DNA in the human genome)."

Lizardi said he thought ALTRs would be limited to cloning of extremely long DNA fragments, and would not replace PCR as an amplification method.

Yale has exclusively licensed the patent to Agilix, a New Haven, Conn.-based company that hopes to offer ALTR as a service or license it to the pharma, biotechnology, and agricultural sectors.


Incyte Genomics received an international patent, Number W00143871A2, entitled "Microarray hybridization chamber." The patent describes a method and apparatus for creating a bubble within a film of fluid and moving the bubble in order to mix the fluid in a hybridization reaction.


The US Department of Health and Human Services was awarded an international patent, Number W00142796A1, entitled "High-throughput tissue microarray technology and applications." The patent covers a method for placing donor tissue samples on an array in specific locations and copying the array, then analyzing the copies. The patent provides for comparison of similar analysis results conducted on corresponding array sections to serve as quality control for the tissue array.

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