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Patent Watch: Molecular Staging, Signature Biosciences, PharmaSeq


Molecular Staging of New Haven, Conn., has been awarded US Patent Number 6,368,801, “Detection and amplification of RNA using target-mediated ligation of DNA by RNA ligase.” The patent covers methods in which DNA strand-RNA strand complexes are ligated with T4 RNA ligase in order to facilitate amplification or detection of the nucleic acids, especially RNA sequences. The patent specifies that T4 RNA ligase is more efficient than T4 DNA ligase at ligating the DNA ends of nucleic acid strands that are hybridized to RNA strands. This improved efficiency can be applied to ligase chain reaction, ligation combined with RT-PCR, ligation-mediated PCR, PCR/ligation detection reaction; ligation-dependent -PCR, oligonucleotide ligation assay, ligation-during-amplification, ligation of padlock probes; open circle probes, other circularizable probes, and iterative gap ligation, according to the patent.

Signature Biosciences of Hayward, Calif., has received US Patent Number 6,368,795, “Bio-assay device and test system for detecting molecular binding events.” The patent covers methods that use the “unique dielectric properties” of a bound molecular structure to detect molecular binding events as well as other environmental effects. In this system, the test signal moves along a pathway and couples to the molecular binding layer, which stimulates a response when molecules are bound.


PharmaSeq, of Monmouth Junction, NJ, has received US Patent Number 6,361,950, “Multiplex assay for nucleic acids employing transponders.” The patent covers methods for nucleic acid assays using tiny transponders attached to beads, to which nucleic acid probes are bound. The transponders encode data about the assay, and a device is used to read these transponders during the assay.

The Scan

Study Reveals Details of SARS-CoV-2 Spread Across Brazil

A genomic analysis in Nature Microbiology explores how SARS-CoV-2 spread into, across, and from Brazil.

New Study Highlights Utility of Mutation Testing in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Genetic mutations in BRAF and RAS are associated with patient outcomes in anaplastic thyroid carcinoma, a new JCO Precision Oncology study reports.

Study Points to Increased Risk of Dangerous Blood Clots in COVID-19 Patients

An analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that even mild COVID-19 increases risk of venous thromboembolism.

Y Chromosome Study Reveals Details on Timing of Human Settlement in Americas

A Y chromosome-based analysis suggests South America may have first been settled more than 18,000 years ago, according to a new PLOS One study.