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IP Watch: Recent Patents Related to PCR, Nucleic Acid Amplification, and Sample Prep: May 12, 2011


Agilent Technologies has been awarded US Patent No. 7,939,645, "Reaction buffer composition for nucleic acid replication with packed DNA polymerases."

Michael Borns is named as inventor on the patent.

Relates to compositions, methods, and kits for nucleic acid replication, including PCR and mutagenesis reactions. The patent provides a buffer composition that allows higher concentrations of DNA polymerase to be used, resulting in greater yield of amplified product and faster reaction kinetics.

DxNA has been awarded US Patent No. 7,939,312, "Rapid thermocycler with movable cooling assembly."

Danvern Roberts, William Bickmore, and Jared Hummel are named as inventors on the patent.

Discloses methods and an apparatus for effecting rapid thermocycling in connection with PCR. A sample assembly having a relatively small thermal mass is heated to desired PCR operating temperatures, and a separate cooling assembly is used to rapidly lower the temperature as required. In one embodiment, a sample assembly with an integrated heating element is isolated from a relatively large thermal mass cold sink when the temperature of a sample is to be raised or maintained, and brought in contact with the cold sink when the temperature is desired to be lowered.

Toyo Seikan Kaisha has been awarded US Patent No. 7,939,299, "Nucleic acid amplification method."

Masafumi Toyama is named as inventor on the patent.

Discloses a nucleic acid amplification method that is based on a new principle and enables amplification of a nucleic acid having a specific nucleotide sequence simply, quickly, and efficiently, the patent's abstract states. The method comprises: (a) conducting a DNA PCR by using, as a template, DNA comprising a nucleotide sequence to be amplified, and a primer pair having a nucleotide sequence complementary to the sequence to be amplified, thereby producing a linear DNA fragment; and (b) conducting a chain-substituting DNA PCR in a chaining manner by using cyclic single-stranded DNA comprising the same nucleotide sequence as that of at least one of the primer pair as a template and employing the 3' terminus of the linear DNA fragment produced in step (a) as the replication origin.

Gen-Probe has been awarded US Patent No. 7,939,260, "Method for making available a priming oligonucleotide."

Michael Becker, Steven Brentano, Kristin Livezey, Norman Nelson, and Gary Schroth are named as inventors on the patent.

The patent discloses novel methods of synthesizing multiple copies of a target nucleic acid sequence which are autocatalytic (i.e., able to cycle automatically without the need to modify reaction conditions such as temperature, pH, or ionic strength; and using the product of one cycle in the next one). In particular, the patent discloses a method of nucleic acid amplification which is robust and efficient, while reducing the appearance of side products. The method uses only one primer, the priming oligonucleotide, a promoter oligonucleotide modified to prevent polymerase extension from its 3' terminus and, optionally, a means for terminating a primer extension reaction, to amplify RNA or DNA molecules in vitro, while reducing or substantially eliminating the formation of side products. The method minimizes or substantially eliminates the emergence of side products, thus providing a high level of specificity. Furthermore, the invention minimizes the appearance of side products that can complicate the analysis of the amplification reaction by various molecular detection techniques, thus providing an enhanced level of sensitivity.

Nugen has been awarded US Patent No. 7,939,258, "Nucleic acid amplification procedure using RNA and DNA composite primers."

Nurith Kurn and Shenglong Wang are named as inventors on the patent.

Provides methods for amplifiying polynucleotide sequences using primers containing single-stranded RNA. The methods use an enzyme capable of cleaving single-stranded RNA, such as RNase I, to degrade a first RNA-containing primer prior to adding a second RNA-containing primer. The invention also provides compositions and kits for practicing the amplification methods, as well as methods using the amplification products.

3M has been awarded US Patent No. 7,939,249, "Methods for nucleic acid isolation and kits using a microfluidic device and concentration step."

Ranjani Parthasarathy, Katya Ericson, and William Bedingham are named as inventors on the patent.

Provides methods and kits for isolating nucleic acid from a sample, preferably from a biological sample, using a microfluidic device and a concentration step.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.