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

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Sorenson Genomics has been awarded US Patent No. 7,691,326, "System for non-invasive extraction, secure handling and storage, and facile processing of a specimen."

Inventors listed on the patent are James Sorenson, Scott Woodward, Jared Christensen, Stephen Mackert, Steven Powell, Douglas Fogg, David Schulthess, West Price, John Brophy, and Reed Winterton.

According to its abstract, the patent covers a system, apparatus, composition and method for facile collection of a physical sample, including in particular noninvasive extraction of buccal cells. The patent is specifically directed to the capture of PCR-ready DNA from cheek cells, and may be particularly useful in simplifying collection, transit, processing, and storage of biological samples with minimal chain of custody.


Fluidigm has been awarded US Patent No. 7,691,333, "Microfluidic device and methods of using same."

Inventors listed on the patent are Lincoln McBride, Michael Lucero, Marc Unger, Hany Nassef, Geoffrey Facer, and Yong Yi.

Describes a variety of elastomeric-based microfluidic devices and methods for using and manufacturing such devices. Certain of the devices have arrays of reaction sites to facilitate high-throughput analyses; while some also include reaction sites located at the end of blind channels at which reagents have been previously deposited during manufacture. The reagents become suspended once sample is introduced into the reaction site. The devices can be utilized with a variety of heating devices and thus can be used in a variety of analyses requiring temperature control, including thermocycling applications such as nucleic acid amplification reactions, genotyping, and gene expression analyses.


The US Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded US Patent No. 7,691,572, "Method and kit for detecting resistance to antiviral drugs."

Inventors listed on the patent are Walid Heneine, Gerardo Garcia-Lerma, Shinji Yamamoto, William Switzer, and Thomas Folks.

Covers assays and kits for detecting phenotypic resistance of a retrovirus to reverse transcriptase inhibitor-drugs in a biological sample. The assays are based on the direct analysis of the susceptibility of retroviral reverse transcriptase to inhibition by a reverse transcriptase inhibitor drug. The enzymatic activity of the reverse transcriptase is determined by measuring the DNA product produced when an RNA template and a first complementary DNA primer from a suitable region of the encephalomyocarditis virus genome are incubated with a biological sample containing reverse transcriptase in the presence of the drug to which resistance is being determined. Amplification and detection of the DNA product indicates resistance to the drug. Detection of relatively greater amounts of amplified DNA when certain drugs are used indicates the presence of multiple nucleoside analog-resistant strains or mutations.


Genome Technologies has been awarded US Patent No. 7,691,614, "Method of genome-wide nucleic acid fingerprinting of functional regions."

Periannan Senapathy is the sole inventor listed on the patent.

Covers a method of specifically amplifying desired regions of nucleic acid from a sample. The method uses a plurality of first and second PCR primers. Each primer has a region of fixed nucleotide sequence identical or complementary to a consensus sequence of interest; and a region of randomized nucleotide sequence located … anywhere within, or flanking the region of fixed nucleotide sequence. The method then involves amplifying the nucleic acid present in the sample via PCR using the aforementioned primers; whereby a subset of the first primers binds to the consensus sequence of interest wherever it occurs in the sample, and a subset of the second primers binds to the sample at locations removed from the first primers such that DNA regions flanked by the first primer and the second primer are specifically amplified.


Shin-Etsu Chemical Company has been awarded US Patent No. 7,691,988, "DNA in the presence of gellan."

Richard Armentrout is the sole inventor listed on the patent.

Covers a method for amplifying nucleic acids with enhanced sensitivity by carrying out the amplification reaction in the presence of gellan. For instance, the method allows for the production of detectible amounts of PCR-amplified DNA from at least 10-fold fewer target molecules than a comparable PCR reaction in the absence of gellan.

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