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Product Watch: Exiqon Assay-Design Tool; Transgenomic ICE COLD-PCR; Takara Bio PrimeStar Enzymes


Exiqon this week launched an online tool for designing Locked Nucleic Acid-enhanced qPCR assays to quantify messenger RNA and non-coding RNA in combination with associated microRNAs.

The new tool allows users to access multiple databases, such as the EMBL Nucleotide Database, RefSeq, Ensembl, GenBank, and Targetscan, and design software to design and select LNA-enhanced qPCR assays without prior knowledge about the annotation applied in the various databases, Exiqon said. The resulting qPCR assays are optimized for use with Exiqon's Universal cDNA synthesis kit and its SYBR Green master mix kit.

The design tool also includes information on links between messenger RNA and microRNA.

Transgenomic this week launched its ICE COLD-PCR mutation-detection technology for DNA mutation detection using standard sequencing equipment.

ICE COLD (improved and complete enrichment coamplification at lower denaturation temperature) PCR is capable of identifying mutation frequencies lower than 0.01 percent, Transgenomic said. This extremely high sensitivity enables detection of mutations from virtually any sample type including tissue biopsies, blood, and circulating tumor cells.

An ICE COLD-PCR kit to enrich KRAS mutations is now available from the company worldwide. Transgenomic plans to expand the ICE COLD-PCR testing platform to include other therapeutically relevant mutations including BRAF, EGFR, and PIK3CA.

Takara Bio Europe has launched two new enzymes in its PrimeSTAR high-fidelity PCR range of products.

PrimeSTAR Max and PrimeSTAR GXL are both thermostable hot-start polymerases designed for efficient DNA synthesis, each with a specially incorporated elongation factor and formulated to further improve both PCR fidelity and speed/length, Takara Bio Europe said.

The company added that the new enzymes are the result of direct feedback from researchers who were reporting difficulties in amplifying long targets. PrimeSTAR GXL ensures high fidelity up to 30 kb even for GC-rich templates; while PrimeSTAR Max delivers high fidelity and speed of results with extension rates of up to 5 sec/kb.

"We see these two thermostable products addressing a range of problems, from amplification of genes for protein expression and cDNA cloning from libraries to next-generation sequencing," Jean-Jacques Farhi, president of Takara Bio Europe, said in a statement.

The Scan

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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.