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IP Update: Recent Patents Related to PCR, Sample Prep, and Nucleic Acid Amplification: Dec 17, 2009


US Patent 7,632,934. Oligonucleotides for amplifying Trichomonas vaginalis-derived nucleic acid. Inventors: William Weisburg; Jennifer Bungo. Assignee: Gen-Probe.

Covers oligonucleotides that are "useful for determining the presence of Trichomonas vaginalis in a test sample," according to the patent abstract. "The oligonucleotides may be incorporated into detection probes, helper probes, capture probes, and amplification oligonucleotides, and used in various combinations thereof."

US Patent 7,632,642. Primers, probes, and methods for nucleic acid amplification. Inventors: Lawrence Wangh; John Rice; J. Aquiles Sanchez; Kenneth Pierce; Jesse Salk; Arthur Reis; Cristina Hartshorn. Assignee: Brandeis University.

The patent claims describe "a homogeneous detection method for at least one single-stranded amplification product of a non-symmetric nucleic acid-amplification process that generates both double-stranded and single-stranded amplicons by extension of oligonucleotide primers by a DNA polymerase and that includes at least one primer-annealing temperature." The patent abstract notes that homogenous detection "during or following PCR amplification, preferably LATE [linear-after-the-exponential]-PCR, utilizing fluorescent DNA dye and indirectly excitable labeled primers and probes, improves reproducibility and quantification." Furthermore, it adds that low-temperature homogeneous detection during or following non-symmetric PCR amplification, utilizing fluorescent DNA dye and "indirectly excitable labeled mismatch-tolerant probes," enables the analysis of complex targets. It adds that sequencing sample preparation methods following LATE-PCR amplifications "reduce complexity and permit 'single-tube' processing."

US Patent 7,632,641. Hybridization chain reaction. Inventors: Robert Dirks; Niles Pierce. Assignee: California Institute of Technology.

The patent abstract describes the use of nucleic acid probes to identify analytes in a sample. "In the preferred embodiments, metastable nucleic acid monomers are provided that associate in the presence of an initiator nucleic acid. Upon exposure to the initiator, the monomers self-assemble in a hybridization chain reaction," the abstract states. The initiator nucleic acid may be a portion of an analyte to be detected or may be "part of an initiation trigger such that it is made available in the presence of a target analyte," it adds.

US Patent 7,632,464. Low-mass sample block with rapid response to temperature change. Inventor: Sunand Banerji. Assignee: Bio-Rad Laboratories.

Describes a sample block for use in PCR, DNA sequencing, "and other procedures that involve the performance of simultaneous reactions in multiple samples with temperature control by heating or cooling elements contacting the bottom surface of the block," according to the patent abstract. The inventors state that the block is improved by the inclusion of hollows "that are positioned to decrease the mass of the block in the immediate vicinity of the wells."

US Patent 7,630,849. Method of automated calibration and diagnosis of laboratory instruments. Inventors: Bruce DeSimas; Leslie Dow. Assignee: Applied Biosystems (now Life Technologies).

Protects a method and system that provides an automated workflow for installing and/or calibrating laboratory equipment. The automated workflow "can greatly reduce the incidence of calibration error by providing for verification of certain events during the calibration process," the patent abstract states. According to the patent claims, the method relates to the automated calibration of a thermal cycling instrument.

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.