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Recent Patents in Bioinformatics, Feb.— March 2007

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US Patent 7,200,531. Conformation-activity relationship of apoptosis-inducing phosphodiester oligonucleotides. Inventors: Nigel Phillips, Mario Filion, Zdenek Richard Holan, Assignee: Bionicrie Life Sciences.
 
Protects a computer-based method for evaluating oligonucleotides for biological activity based on the three-dimensional structure and charge characteristics. Biological activities include, but are not limited to, cellular proliferation, induction of cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis.
 

 
US Patent 7,197,401. Peak selection in multidimensional data. Inventor: Curtis Hastings. Assignee: PPD Biomarker Discovery Sciences.
 
Protects an automatic peak selection method that selects peaks from very noisy data such as two-dimensional liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry data. The method computes local noise thresholds for each one-dimensional component of the data. Each point has a local noise threshold applied to it for each dimension of the data set, and a point is selected as a candidate peak only if its value exceeds all of the applied local noise thresholds. Contiguous candidate peaks are clustered into actual peaks.
 

 
US Patent 7,197,400. System and computer software products for comparative gene expression analysis. Inventors: Wei-min Liu, Xiaojun Di. Assignee: Affymetrix.
 
Provides methods and software products for analyzing gene-expression data. In one embodiment, methods, systems and computer software are provided for comparative gene-expression analysis using intensity-dependent normalization factors.
 

 
US Patent 7,184,893. Method for selecting an optimally diverse library of small molecules based on validated molecular structural descriptors. Inventors: Richard Cramer, Robert Clark. Assignee: Tripos.
 
Covers a method that applies “validated metrics” to select a subset of a “combinatorial accessible chemical universe such that the molecules of the subset are representative of all the diversity present in the universe and yet do not contain multiple members which represent the same diversity (oversample).” The method can also be used to combine combinatorial screening libraries.

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The Scan

Wolf Howl Responses Offer Look at Vocal Behavior-Related Selection in Dogs

In dozens of domestic dogs listening to wolf vocalizations, researchers in Communication Biology see responses varying with age, sex, reproductive status, and a breed's evolutionary distance from wolves.

Facial Imaging-Based Genetic Diagnoses Appears to Get Boost With Three-Dimensional Approach

With data for more than 1,900 individuals affected by a range of genetic conditions, researchers compared facial phenotype-based diagnoses informed by 2D or 3D images in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

Survey Suggests Multigene Cancer Panel VUS Reporting May Vary Across Genetic Counselors

Investigators surveyed dozens of genetic counselors working in clinical or laboratory settings, uncovering attitudes around VUS reporting after multigene cancer panel testing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.

Study Points to Tuberculosis Protection by Gaucher Disease Mutation

A mutation linked to Gaucher disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish population appears to boost Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance in a zebrafish model of the lysosomal storage condition, a new PNAS study finds.