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

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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

Dropped Charges

The US Justice Department has dropped visa fraud charges against five Chinese researchers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More Kids

The Associated Press says Moderna is expanding its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine study to included additional children and may include even younger children.

PNAS Papers on Rat Clues to Human Migration, Thyroid Cancer, PolyG-DS

In PNAS this week: ancient rat genome analysis gives hints to human migrations, WDR77 gene mutations in thyroid cancer, and more.

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.