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IP Update: Recent Patents Related to PCR, Sample Prep, and Nucleic Acid Amplification: Jan 7, 2010

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US Patent 7,642,403. Marker mapping and resistance gene associations in soybean. Inventors: Michael Godwin; Feng Han; Alec Hayes; Xu Hu; Soon-Chun Jeong; Guihua Lu; M. A. Saghai Maroof. Assignees: Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties.

Provides molecular genetic markers in soybean that are useful, for example, for selecting gene alleles that impart disease resistance. According to the patent claims, the detection of the marker is performed via PCR amplification "using one or more nucleic acid from the plant as a template in the PCR."


US Patent 7,642,082. Methods for determining the presence of staphylococcal enterotoxin A gene in a sample. Inventors: Cheng Cao; Akbar Khan; Kevin O'Connell; Jennifer Bucher; Mark Gostomski; James Valdes. Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army.

Relates to methods and assays for determining the presence of staphylococcal enterotoxin A in a sample through detection of a nucleic acid encoding staphylococcal enterotoxin A. According to the patent claims, the method includes "contacting a target nucleic acid sequence [that] comprises a portion of the S. aureus entA gene encoding staphylococcal enterotoxin A, with polymerase chain reaction reagents specific for the target nucleic acid sequence."


US Patent 7,642,055. Two-color real-time/end-point quantitation of microRNAs (miRNAs). Inventors: Andrew Finn; Caifu Chen. Assignee: Applied Biosystems (now Life Technologies)

Protects methods, reagents, kits, and compositions for detecting target polynucleotide sequences, especially small target polynucleotides such as microRNAs, between two samples. According to the patent abstract, a pair of linker probes is used in two different reactions to query a particular species of target polynucleotide; while a pair of detector probes, a single forward primer specific for the target polynucleotide, and a reverse primer are used in an amplification reaction to query the difference in expression level of the target polynucleotide between the two samples. "In some embodiments a plurality of small miRNAs are queried with a plurality of linker probes," the abstract states. "The plurality of queried miRNAs can then be decoded in a plurality of amplification reactions."


US Patent 7,642,053. Method and device for PCR-amplification and detection of nucleotide sequences. Inventors: Walter Gumbrecht; Manfred Stanzel. Assignee: Siemens.

Covers a DNA chip that includes a flat carrier with an array of spots containing oligonucleotides. "Each spot is associated with a microelectrode arrangement for impedance spectroscopic detection of binding events occurring between the probe molecules and target molecules … applied by way of an analyte solution," according to the patent abstract. "In order to increase the sensitivity or the binding specific measuring effects of the biochip, the electrode arrangement is at least partially embedded in a hydrophilic reaction layer containing probe molecules and which is permeable to target molecules."

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In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.