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IP Watch: Recent Patents Related to PCR, Nucleic Acid Amplification, and Sample Prep: Mar 2, 2011

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Stanford University has been awarded US Patent No. 7,897,747, "Method to produce single-stranded DNA of defined length and sequence and DNA probes produced thereby."

Michael Mindrinos, Sujatha Krishnakumar, and Ronald Davis are named as inventors on the patent.

Discloses a method for producing a single-stranded DNA molecule of a defined length and sequence. This method enables the preparation of, inter alia, probes of greater length than can be chemically synthesized. The method starts with a double-stranded molecule, such as genomic, double-stranded DNA from any organism. A dsDNA fragment of the starting molecule is amplified by specific primers engineered to introduce cleavage sites on either side of the desired sequence. Cleavage steps on the amplified, engineered fragment are combined with a phosphate removal step, thereby creating a construct that can be digested with an exonuclease without damage to the desired ssDNA. The patent also discloses probes, which hybridize with large gaps between the ends of the probes.


Applied Biosystems (Life Technologies) has been awarded US Patent No. 7,897,738, "DNA polymerases having improved labeled nucleotide incorporation properties."

John Brandis, Curtis Bloom, and John Richards are named as inventors on the patent.

Relates to DNA polymerases that have an F667Y mutation as defined with respect to Taq DNA polymerase and exhibit reduced discrimination against labeled nucleotides into polynucleotides. The patent also includes kits comprising the subject DNA polymerases and numerous methods of using the subject DNA polymerases, including uses for chain termination sequencing and PCR.


HandyLab (Becton Dickinson) has been awarded US Patent No. 7,897,368, "Microfluidic system for amplifying and detecting polynucleotides in parallel."

Kalyan Handique, Sundaresh Brahmasandra, Karthik Ganesan, and Jeff Williams are named as inventors on this patent.

Provides an apparatus for detecting polynucleotides in samples, particularly from biological samples. The technology more particularly relates to microfluidic systems that carry out PCR on nucleotides of interest within microfluidic channels, and detect those nucleotides. The apparatus includes a microfluidic cartridge that is configured to accept a plurality of samples, and that can carry out PCR on each sample individually, or a group of, or all of the plurality of samples simultaneously.


Gen-Probe has been awarded US Patent No. 7,897,337, "Method for performing multi-formatted assays."

Jerzy Macioszek, Christopher Davis, Gary Lair, Thanh Nguyen, Haitao Li, Florence Li, Byron Knight, Robert Scalese, and Robert Heinz are named as inventors on the patent.

Discloses an automated analyzer for performing multiple diagnostic assays simultaneously. The analyzer includes multiple stations in which discrete aspects of the assay are performed on fluid samples contained in sample vessels. The analyzer includes stations for automatically preparing a sample, incubating the sample, performing an analyte-isolation procedure, ascertaining the presence of a target analyte, and analyzing the amount of a target analyte. An automated receptacle-transporting system moves the sample vessels from one station to the next. The patent also discloses a method for performing an automated diagnostic assay that includes an automated process for isolating and amplifying a target analyte, and, in one embodiment, a method for real-time monitoring of the amplification process.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.