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IP Update: Recent Patents Related to PCR, Nucleic Acid Amplification, and Sample Prep: May 12, 2010

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Gen-Probe has been awarded US Patent No. 7,713,697, "Methods and kits for amplifying DNA."

Michael Becker, Wai-Chung Lam, and Kristin Livezey are named as inventors on the patent.

The patent covers methods of synthesizing multiple copies of a target nucleic acid sequence that 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 robust and efficient methods of nucleic acid amplification that reduce the appearance of side products. In general, the methods use priming oligonucleotides that target only one sense of a target nucleic acid; 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 appearance of side products can complicate the analysis of the amplification reaction by various molecular detection techniques, and the disclosed methods minimize or substantially eliminate the emergence of such side products, thus providing a high level of specificity, the patent states.


Aisin Cosmos R&D, Riken, and Kazusa DNA Research Institute have been awarded US Patent No. 7,713,700, "Method of amplifying nucleic acids, reagent kit for amplifying nucleic acids, method of detecting single nucleotide polymorphism[s], and reagent kit for detecting single nucleotide polymorphism[s]."

Yasushi Shigemori, Takehiko Shibata, Tsutomu Mikawa, Michio Oishi, and Osamu Ohara are named as inventors on the patent.

According to its abstract, the patent covers a method for amplifying a desired nucleic acid while suppressing amplification of byproducts in a PCR reaction; a reagent kit used for nucleic acid amplification; a method of detecting single nucleotide polymorphism[s] by suppressing amplification of byproducts in a PCR reaction; and a reagent kit for detecting single nucleotide polymorphism[s]. The method is characterized by admixing in a reaction solution, a homologous recombinant protein containing at least one of a RecA protein derived from Thermus thermophilus, and a modified RecA protein having a function similar to that of the RecA protein and ability to carry out PCR.


Penn State University has been awarded RE41327, a reissuance of US Patent No. 7,387,874, "Detection of extracellular tumor-associated nucleic acid in blood plasma or serum using nucleic acid amplification assays."

Christopher Gocke and Michael Kopreski are listed as inventors on the patent.

The patent relates to detecting specific extracellular nucleic acid in human or animal blood plasma or serum associated with disease. Specifically, the invention relates to detecting nucleic acid derived from mutant oncogenes or other tumor-associated DNA, and to methods of detecting and monitoring extracellular mutant oncogenes or tumor-associated DNA found in blood plasma or serum. In particular, the invention relates to the detection, identification, or monitoring of the existence, progression, or clinical status of neoplasia in humans or other animals that contain a mutation that is associated with the neoplasm through detection of the mutated nucleic acid of the neoplasm in plasma or serum fractions.

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